Tuesday, October 02, 2007


For many populations, the bookmobile is a lifeline--people who don't live near a library, people with physical handicaps that make it difficult for them to visit their local library, the elderly, people who can't afford to buy books or computers. Unfortunately, in many parts of the country, this lifeline is disappearing. Today's article in the Boston Globe describes the ancient bookmobile in Beverly, Massachusetts that is "now a ragged shadow of itself." There are only four bookmobiles still operating in Massachusetts, and across the country, "bookmobiles are increasingly seen as irrelevant, and have been retired one by one." There are only about 900 bookmobiles still operating in the United States. It really seems a shame!


stephanie davidson said...

Except that many libraries provide this service without a traveling collection, either by mail or using home delivery service. People can fill out a profile (e.g., I like romance, but nothing too steamy; or all gardening, all the time) or request particular authors or books, and the library will deliver them on a regular schedule.

Betsy McKenzie said...

I enjoyed the bookmobile story, along with the BBC story on bibliomulas (search that word on OOTJ). Thanks to Stephanie for bringing us academic librarians up to date on current public library service deliveries. I wonder if the book package has the same thrill factor as the bookmobile or bibliomula? In my little town of Milton, MA, the library had a mule-drawn book delivery service into the 1920's until the mule who pulled the library cart got hit by one of the new-fangled automobiles. They stopped the service at that point, and I don't think they ever had a bookmobile. I personally never got to use a bookmobile, but think it must have been as exciting as the ice cream truck -- less calories and no charge!

Marie S. Newman said...

Delivery services are great and fill a need, but I think nothing beats browsing the shelves. At least that was the case for me when we lived in rural Illinois and the bookmobile's stop was a much-anticipated event.