Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book Automobiles

On April 14, the American Library Association (ALA) will celebrate the first National Bookmobile Day. I recently acquired the 1937 ALA publication Book Automobiles, Library Equipment Studies: Number One. It was prepared by the ALA County and Regional Libraries Section Book Automobile Committee. The introduction reads: "The steady and growing demand for exact specifications and pictures of book automobiles from city and county librarians who are considering this method of book service and who wish to profit by the experience of others, has led to this first effort to compile information on the subject and to present it in convenient form." The publication includes information and pictures of: small book automobiles with outside shelving; large book automobiles with outside shelving; large book automobiles with inside and outside shelving; book trailers; simpler forms of service; and delivery trucks. The picture above shows the large book automobile with outside shelving used by the Davidson County Library in Lexington, NC. A caption for the pictures notes that the shelving for the book automobile is four shelves high and that the lower part of the back door is let down and used as a table for charging books. A high stool for the library worker was carried inside the book automobile. "Simpler forms of service" included adapting passenger cars for this purpose. The Vanderburg County Library in Indiana adapted a Ford roadster by adding a box at the back with two enclosed shelves holding about 150 books.

1 comment:

Clarence Carlyle said...


Nice post. Came to it while looking for reviews on the books that can be kept in our office library.

Being an avid reader, I think the world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the heart of men centuries dead.