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Celebrating the bookmobile

April 14, 2010 | 11:15 am


The American Library Assn. has declared April 14 to be National Bookmobile Day. Bookmobiles have provided library outreach for more than 100 years in the U.S., and this Flickr group shows that they're popular all over the world.

Bookmobiles were once enough of a library staple so that truck manufacturers, like International Harvester, created specially built bookmobile vans, with built-in shelves and fold-out steps. The website 10 Engines has dug up an old ad, the kind a librarian in 1960 might have perused when deciding which bookmobile to buy.

In fact, in 1960 the Los Angeles Public Library retired "Little Toot," a small bookmobile, in favor of a newer, bigger van, dubbed the far more formal "Los Angeles Public Library Traveling Branch." 

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Tea Party activists walk past a San Francisco Public Library bookmobile in April 2009. Credit: David Lytle via Flickr