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February 4, 2017

Long Before Amazon, There Were Bookmobiles! These 30 Libraries-on-Wheels Looked Way Cooler Than Your Local Libraries

A travelling library often used to provide books to villages and city suburbs that had no library buildings, the bookmobile went from a simple horse-drawn cart in the 19th century to large customised vehicles that became part of American culture and reached their height of popularity in the mid-twentieth century. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane with this forgotten four-wheeler...

A horse-drawn cart in Washington in the 1900s. It was one of the first American bookmobiles, built in 1905, but was hit and destroyed by a train in 1910.

A bookmobile in Indonesia, early 20th century.

A bookmobile in Indonesia, early 20th century.

The Book Caravan, one of the first traveling bookshops, 1920.

Books free for everybody, right at the door – if you vote "yes"

An opened bookmobile, 1925

Multnomah County Library, 1926

Book Caravan in Iowa, c.1927

The first bookmobile of the Public Library of Cincinnati, c. 1927.

Rockville Fair, Maryland, 1928

Three of the bookmobile staff, c.1930

The Library’s bookmobile on Compton Road, c.1933

Greensboro, North Carolina, 1936

The Library’s bookmobile in Sharonville, circa 1938

A circulating library in a streetcar in Munich, Germany

A tram in Berlin with 2400 books in Berlin, 1952

Framingham Public Library, 1956

A mobile library in Canterbury

A Czech book truck

Inside a bookmobile, c.1960s

An impatient queue for a Dutch bookmobile

A Boston Public Library bookmobile, 1963

A bus with a view, 1967

Onboard the Connecticut State Library’s Bookmobile with Margaret Sullivan and Marcella Finan, 1967.

The bookmobile of Providence Public Library, 1967

Utah State Library Bookmobile on the Road, c.1970

A mobile library in Kurdistan, Iran, 1970

Bookmobile at Anne Arundel County Fair, 1973.

Paul Buttars, former manager of the Utah State Library Bookmobile Program, in one of the “older” bookmobiles. Taken in Chesterfield, UT, c.1975.

The Bicentennial Bookmobile in Utah, 1976

(via Messy Nessy Chic)



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