Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Book on the History of Bookmobiles in America
I just received my copy of Bookmobiles in America: An Illustrated History by Orty Ortwein, and I would recommend its purchase by library history buffs and especially those, like me, who have a special interest in this aspect of library service. The book was self published by Ortwein earlier this year and can be purchased for $11 from Amazon. Some of the content in the publication has been previously published online in Ortwein's excellent blog Bookmobiles: A History. Ortwein readily admits that his book should not be considered the absolute authority on American bookmobiles. Instead, he says, it should be thought of as "a fun tour of a fun topic". As could be expected from a book with "Illustrated" in its title it includes numerous illustrations of bookmobiles tied to interesting stories about bookmobiles. The book also includes stories about traveling libraries. Included in the book is a chart compiled by Ortwein that shows the rise and fall of bookmobiles in America. The number of bookmobiles peaked in 1965 at 2,000 but had dropped to 696 in 2011. The expansion of bookmobile service correlates to the infusion of Federal aid from the 1956 Library Services Act for rural library service. Also of great value is the extensive list of sources which Ortwein includes at the end of his publication. Click HERE to see my previous blog posts about bookmobiles. Also don't miss the American Libraries Pinterest bookmobile site.