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The ALA’s ‘Why We Love Our Bookmobile’ YouTube Channel

“As libraries gear up to celebrate the fifth National Bookmobile Day on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 they can now share what makes their bookmobile special through the ‘Why We Love Our Bookmobile’ YouTube video celebration, ” the American Library Association (A.L.A.) announced on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Through April 16th, libraries across the U.S. are invited to submit videos on the National Bookmobile Day YouTube channel that highlight the library services that bookmobiles and their staff provide every day, in communities large and small.

‘Why We Love Our Bookmobile’ is open to libraries and library agencies who post videos that feature at least one of the following themes: patron support for the bookmobile; bookmobile services; or the library’s 2014 National Bookmobile Day celebrations. On National Bookmobile Day, three videos will be selected at random to receive gift certificates from ALA Graphics.

For more information about ‘Why We Love Our Bookmobile,’ including submission guidelines and instructions, please visit and click on ‘Why We Love Our Bookmobile.’

National Bookmobile Day celebrates American bookmobiles and the dedicated staff that provide vital library services in their communities. National Bookmobile Day is an opportunity for Americans to express their support for these important mobile services.

People in two northwestern counties of England developed mobile library service as early as the 1850s. These were known as perambulating libraries. They did not operate continuously until the present era, however.

Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 2nd Baronet (1829-1906), the wealthy politician known for his humorous oration, and George Moore (1806-1876), a rich merchant and philanthropist, formed a committee with several others that supported a mobile library service in Cumberland (now part of Cumbria). It consisted of a man pushing a wheelbarrow-like book cart between deposit stations in eight towns, as The British Workman noted in 1857.

In 1858, the Warrington Mechanic’s Institute in Warrington, Cheshire, England established the Warrington Perambulating Library. It consisted of a horse-drawn book-wagon.

Mary Titcomb, the first Librarian of the Washington County Free Library in Maryland, introduced mobile library service to the United States in 1905. Having decided the sixty-six deposit stations with thirty volumes each she had distributed outside the county seat by 1904 were insufficient to provide service in outlying areas, she convinced the Board of Trustees to commission a wagon maker to produce her Library Wagon.

Two horses drew the Library Wagon. The janitor, Joshua Thomas, both drove the wagon and dispensed the books. After that first horse-drawn book-wagon was destroyed in an accident with a train in August of 1910, the Washington County Free Library acquired a motorized book-wagon in 1912. The Marion City Library in Marion, South Carolina began to serve outlying districts of Marion County with a mule-drawn wagon in 1913.

For more than 100 years, bookmobiles have delivered information, technology, and resources for life-long learning to Americans of all walks of life. National Bookmobile Day, begun in 2010, is celebrated in conjunction with National Library Week, which this year is April 13-19.

It honors mobile delivery outreach as an integral and vital part of library service in the United States. National Bookmobile Day is sponsored by the A.L.A., the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (A.B.O.S.), and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (A.R.S.L.).

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