Traveling Libraries and Bookmobiles: How Librarians Have Served and Empowered American Communities

Reference work entry


This chapter is a brief historical overview of Traveling Libraries and bookmobiles. In addition, it is an acknowledgment of the services librarians have provided (and continue to provide) to citizens in their communities. An attempt has been made to demonstrate how from the inception of lending libraries more than 300 years ago, librarians had one goal in mind. They have done their best to bring books and readers together. They have not been deterred by war, poverty, distance, or geography. Librarians have used a variety of means to satisfy our insatiable need for having a good book to read. Therefore, a few words have been offered regarding several colorful services librarians have used in the past – book boxes, the first book wagon, and the Pack Horse Libraries of the 1930s and 1940s during the Great Depression. While most of the information shared here celebrates opportunity and the independent spirit of America, not all American citizens were so fortunate to receive services. Heroic efforts were made to provide reading materials to soldiers during times of war and to those living in remote and isolated areas, but a disproportionate number of African Americans were neglected and underserved. Finally, ideas regarding the importance of providing books to families and children cannot be understated. Researchers have made it abundantly clear. If children are going to learn to read, they must have books. So, hurrah for librarians! Their dedication to providing the best in library services has built a nation of readers.


Bookmobiles Lending libraries Library war services Pack horse librarians Traveling libraries 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Literacy Education ProgramMarshall UniversitySouth CharlestonUSA

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