Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Library Book Trucks

Library Bureau Book Truck

Gaylord Bros. Book Truck

The Library Bureau's Classified Illustrated Catalog of 1886 described the library book truck as, "The most useful single device ever made for an active library."  An image of Library Bureau's book truck, item 21a in the catalog, is shown above. Starting with Library Bureau, book trucks also called book carts were sold and continue to be sold by most library supply companies. Gaylord Brothers included "The Truck Beautiful" in its 1933 catalog of Library Furniture and Supplies. My introduction to book trucks came as a page at the Public Library of Nashville and Davidson County (TN) way back in 1963. I'm sure I shelved tens of thousands of books using these handy devices.  Now days, we also have book cart drill teams and tricked out book cart contests.  There are thousands of images of book trucks/book carts on the Web that can be found by searching Google or Flickr. I particularly like this image of a wood book truck used by the Minneapolis Public Library. If your library has one of the early wood book trucks consider yourself very fortunate.

5 comments:

Barb said...

I began working at The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main Branch in the late 1970's and they had a few dozen of the wooden books trucks depicted on the Library Bureau ad in your blog. I'm sure these were purchased when the library first opened in 1895. I had to admit that I don't remember them fondly...once loaded with books they were incredibly heavy and the set of wheels in the middle sometimes made navigating narrow stacks tricky. I sure The Carnegie still has them...they were indestructible!

Larry T. Nix said...

Barb, thanks for your comment about the Library Bureau book trucks at The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. I hope they have held on to some of them. Larry

Los Angeles Library Tour said...

I love this post! I've been looking for a lovingly used wooden book truck for years and am resigned to the fact I'll have to build it myself. I found that Library Bureau is still in business and according to their website they are still making book trucks, though not pictured on the site. http://www.librarybureau.com/index.html
Keep up the great work, I love reading your blog.

Pam said...

Larry,
Sedalia Public Library in Missouri is still using a book truck like the first picture to display books for sale. It is quite sturdy but not easy to move when loaded down with books. The library was also formed in 1895 and I believe the book truck is probably from that time.
Pam Hunter, Director

Alexandre Medeiros said...

Fantastic your Blog! I'm a brazilian librarian and I have a blog too. It's Bibliocomics (bibliocomics.blogspot.com). Congratulations!