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Before Amazon, We Had Bookmobiles: 15+ Rare Photos Of Libraries-On-Wheels

Long before Amazon, Audible, and other digital book distributors, bookmobiles were bringing literature to peoples’ doorsteps. Their mission was to provide the written word to remote villages and city suburbs that had no libraries. We invite you to remember these almost forgotten four-wheelers of the past.

The first bookmobile is believed to have appeared in Warrington, England in the late 1850s. It was a horse-drawn cart, and lent about 12,000 books during its first year of service. Later, mobile libraries were installed inside vehicles and reached the height of their popularity in the mid-20th century when they had become a part of Americal life.

Although bookmobiles are still operated in some parts of the world by libraries, schools, activists, and other organizations, they are widely thought to be outdated service due to high costs, advanced technology and impracticality.

#1 An Opened Bookmobile, 1925

Numismatic Bibliomania Society

#2 The First Bookmobile Of The Public Library Of Cincinnati, 1927

Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County

#3 A Mobile Library In Kurdistan, Iran, 1970

wikimedia

#4 Inside A Bookmobile, 1960s

Bibliobussen

#5 One Of The Library Bookmobiles, C. 1948.

Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County

#6 A Bookmobile In Indonesia, Early 20th Century.

wikimedia

#7 The Bookmobile In Columbia Park, C. 1940

Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County

#8 Bookmobile

Multnomah County Library

#9 Book Caravan In Iowa, C.1927

#10 Multnomah County Library, 1926

Multnomah County Library

#11 Greensboro, North Carolina, 1936

Crossett Library

#12 An Impatient Queue For A Dutch Bookmobile

Bibliobussen

#13 The Library’s Bookmobile On Compton Road, C.1933

Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County

#14 Three Of The Bookmobile Staff, C.1930

Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County

#15 Craig Medvigny (left) And David Sutton Enjoying A Book; Eleanor Mann Substitute Traveling Branch Librarian, C. 1920s

Kern County Library

#16 Mrs. Josie Sanders, Richard Sanders, Jerome Sanders And Two Younger Children. C1950s

Kern County Library

#17 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

Crossett Library

#18 A Bookmobile In Indonesia, Early 20th Century.

wikimedia

#19 A Mobile Library In Canterbury

Christchurch City Libraries

#20 A Boston Public Library Bookmobile, 1963

Boston Public Library

#21 A Bus With A View, 1967

Bibliobussen

#22 Utah State Library Bookmobile On The Road Circa 1970

Utah State Library

#23 The Library’s Bookmobile

Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County

#24 Children Gathering At The Bookmobile, C. 1912

Kern County Library

#25 Children Gathering At The Kern County Free Library Bookmobile At Aztec School, 1947

Kern County Library

#26 A Very Fine Bookmobile Owned By The New Castle County Free Library

Anne Arundel Country Public Library

#27 Rockville Fair, Maryland, 1928

#28 A Circulating Library In A Streetcar In Munich, Germany

Crossett Library

#29 Bookmobile At Anne Arundel County Fair, 1973
County Fair, 1973

#30 Sanpete County Bookmobile

Utah State Library

#31 Summer Rural Service, 1936

Multnomah County Library

#32 Bookmobile

Multnomah County Library

#33 The Book Caravan, One Of The First Traveling Bookshops, 1920.

Source: Bored Panda

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