Before Amazon, We Had Bookmobiles: 15+ Rare Photos Of Libraries-On-Wheels

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Long before Amazon, Audible, and other digital book distributors, bookmobiles were bringing literature to peoples’ doorsteps. Their mission was to provide the written word to remote villages and city suburbs that had no libraries. We invite you to remember these almost forgotten four-wheelers of the past.
The first bookmobile is believed to have appeared in Warrington, England in the late 1850s. It was a horse-drawn cart, and lent about 12,000 books during its first year of service. Later, mobile libraries were installed inside vehicles and reached the height of their popularity in the mid-20th century when they had become a part of Americal life.
Although bookmobiles are still operated in some parts of the world by libraries, schools, activists, and other organizations, they are widely thought to be an outdated service due to high costs, advanced technology and impracticality.
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#1 An Opened Bookmobile, 1925

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#2 The First Bookmobile Of The Public Library Of Cincinnati, 1927

#3 A Mobile Library In Kurdistan, Iran, 1970

#4 One Of The Library Bookmobiles, C. 1948.

#5 Inside A Bookmobile, 1960s

#6 A Bookmobile In Indonesia, Early 20th Century.

#7 The Bookmobile In Columbia Park, C. 1940

#8 Bookmobile

#9 Book Caravan In Iowa, C.1927

#10 Multnomah County Library, 1926

#11 Greensboro, North Carolina, 1936

#12 An Impatient Queue For A Dutch Bookmobile

#13 The Library’s Bookmobile On Compton Road, C.1933

#14 Three Of The Bookmobile Staff, C.1930

#15 Craig Medvigny (left) And David Sutton Enjoying A Book; Eleanor Mann Substitute Traveling Branch Librarian, C. 1920s


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