Today is National Bookmobile Day! Sponsored by the American Library Association’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, this day celebrates bookmobiles and the library professionals who support and provide bookmobile services.
What is a bookmobile? Essentially, it is a vehicle that is designed to hold books and act as a mobile library. The goal is to provide direct-delivery outreach searches, and these bookmobiles accomplish this by providing services to areas and individuals who have difficulty accessing traditional libraries. The collections of materials maintained by bookmobiles will vary based on the needs and demands of the service community and can include technology and other resources.
Here are some fun facts about bookmobiles.*
- The first bookmobile service in the United States started in 1905 right here in Maryland. Mary Lemis Titcomb, the first librarian of the Washington County Free Library, created a specially-designed “Library Wagon” to serve the information and education needs of the largely rural county.
- In 1931, the mobile library concept was introduced in India. This two-wheeled cart was supported and promoted by S.R. Ranganathan, the “Father of Library Science” in India.
- Uganda boasts a camel library service.
- Elephant libraries are available in Thailand.
- In 2011, Maryland had 18 bookmobiles in service.
- The average cost of a bookmobile is $200,000.
For more information about National Bookmobile Day, check out The American Library Association’s webpage.
*National Bookmobile Day 2015 – Bookmobiles at a Glance, available at http://www.ala.org/offices/olos/nbdhome.