Imagine life before the Internet. If you're as old as I am, that's easy because, like me, you grew up without it. Sometimes it's hard for me to think of how I ever got along without IMDB. But we managed. We also lived without social media, cable television, and cell phones. When I wanted to make a phone call, I walked out to the kitchen to a shoebox-sized device hanging on the wall and dialed the number, assuming, of course, that there was nobody else using the party line at the time.
Yes, I grew up in a simpler time. As a youngster in the late Fifties, I had the unique experience of attending first and second grade in a one-room school house. If you're thinking “Little House on the Prairie,” you're not far off. We even had one of those little hand bells that the teacher would ring to signal time for school to start. This school was probably a rare breed back then. It closed a couple of years after I had completed second grade and moved on to a larger school. But I have many fond memories of that educational experience. One special memory is of the bookmobile, the traveling library that made regular visits to our little schoolhouse. Yes, it was a simpler time. We didn't have ebooks, and we couldn't often make it to the library, but the library came to us.
Today bookmobiles are alive and well. There is actually a designated National Bookmobile Day on the Wednesday of National Library Week. Hundreds of these mobile libraries serve communities all over the country. And bookmobiles aren't just for rural areas. New York City recently announced that it will operate three new bookmobiles in the metropolitan area.
These traveling book repositories are as various as the brick and mortar libraries from which they originate. Some are sleek and colorful like the one pictured above from Marshall County in Kentucky. Others are quirky and charming like the one Antonio LaCava created in Italy.
Some mobile libraries don't even have wheels. Luis Soriano Bohorquez in Colombia created Biblioburro—The Donkey Library. He loads over 100 books onto the back of a donkey and spends hours traveling to meet with his young patrons.
Hats off to all the wonderful mobile librarians and bookmobiles of all types!!