Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Bookmobiles of Greenville Co. SC

When I became Director of the Greenville County Library in South Carolina in 1974 the library system had five bookmobiles including one "outreach" bookmobile. The library system had a long history of providing bookmobile service dating back to the 1920s when the Greenville Public Library was established. I recently acquired the first postcard shown above which depicts one of the library's first bookmobiles. Orty Ortwein has written about Greenville's first bookmobile in his "Bookmobiles: A History" blog. In 1949 the library purchased its first bookmobile equipped for inside service. In 1961 the Greenville Public Library became the Greenville County Library with a dedicated tax levy. As a result the library was able to buy four new bookmobiles. One bookmobile served areas inside the city, one served areas in the school district. one served rural areas outside the school district, and one was dedicated to the "Negro service" (the library was fully integrated by 1965). There were now a total of 150 bookmobile stops. The Gerstenslager bookmobile shown on the second postcard above was one of these bookmobiles. While I was a director of the Greenville County Library there was a significant transition away from bookmobiles to branch libraries. However, the Greenville County Library still operates one bookmobile. Some information in this post is from Free Reading for Everybody: The Story of The Greenville Library by Ellen Perry (1973, Greenville County Library).

1 comment:

David Nilsen said...

I love bookmobiles so much. I wish we still had ours at the library I work at. I do post pictures of our old ones occasionally, if you want to see them.