History

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

February 13, 2017 | By  

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in some parts of the world by libraries, schools, activists, and other organizations, they are widely thought to be an outdated service due to high costs, advanced technology and impracticality.

 

An Opened Bookmobile, 1925

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

The First Bookmobile Of The Public Library Of Cincinnati, 1927

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

A Mobile Library In Kurdistan, Iran, 1970

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

Inside A Bookmobile, 1960s

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

 One Of The Library Bookmobiles, C. 1948.

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

A Bookmobile In Indonesia, Early 20th Century.

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

The Bookmobile In Columbia Park, C. 1940

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

Bookmobile

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

Book Caravan In Iowa, C.1927

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

Multnomah County Library, 1926

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

Greensboro, North Carolina, 1936

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

 An Impatient Queue For A Dutch Bookmobile

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

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

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

 Three Of The Bookmobile Staff, C.1930

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

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

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

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Emily has worked for a variety of technology-focused publications over the years , she also writes about tech, culture, crime, and the economy .

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