A long, long time ago, rural homes had no way to get books other than from libraries on wheels. These bookmobiles traveled all over the countryside delivering literature to towns and villages.
The first bookmobile was a horse-drawn carriage appearing in Warrington, England, in the late 1850s. Later, vehicles outfitted with libraries lent out books, peaking in popularity in the mid-20th century.
Let’s look at some of these early book-delivery systems.
1. Mobile Library, Kurdistan Province, Iran, 1970
2. Bookmobile, Indonesia, Early 20th Century
3. First Motorized Bookmobile, Washington County, Maryland, 1912
4. Mobile Library, Anglesey, Wales, 1958
5. Lincoln County Public Library Bookmobile, Brookhaven, Mississippi, 1952
6. Monroe County Library Bookmobile at Charlie Battery of the Sixth Missile Battalion, Key West, Florida, 1964
7. Ottawa Public Library Bookmobile, 2005
8. Gaston County Bookmobile, Gastonia, North Carolina, 1935
Lots of bookmobiles are still being used, but they’re mostly falling out of favor because digital materials are easier and less expensive to distribute.
But never forget what it feels and smells like to have a good old fashioned book in your hand. And, what a privilege it is to be able to use digital literature.
Bookmobiles and portable libraries still play an important role in reaching people who can’t download whatever they want to read.