The Bookmobile!

“Sometimes people can’t get to the library, but if the bookmobile is a mile from their house, then they can get to that.”
~ Tracy Trotter

This week we’re writing about our thoughts and memories of a visit we made to a bookstore. This one is going to take me back to a forgotten memory, too!

My memory of today is one of the bookmobile (probably similar to the “traveling library bus” Iris mentioned last week). The Internet tells me they still exist in some areas of the states, but they ended a long time ago where I grew up as a child in the 1960s.

They have ended in other areas, too. The internet also informs me of a news article published a couple days ago, which tells how “The San Antonio Public Library is ending the Bookmobile.” The service in that area had also been going on since the ‘60s.

Though I did not read the previously mentioned article, past the headline, I imagine the SAPL ended theirs due to budget cuts in this current economy. But, come on! I remember mine being ended while I was still a child, in the 60s! What was up with that? (I also remember a thriving economy, then.)

But I digress. This is supposed to be about one of my memories. Though the Bookmobile wasn’t a “brick and mortar” bookstore; it WAS a bookstore to me and my friends! It was Great! I can remember the excitement of when the Bookmobile would be arriving on the country road where I grew up!

Just thinking about the exhilaration and anticipation of that chance to climb onto the bookmobile to look at and check out books makes my heart pick up in its pace even now! I was like the quote I posted above. We kids had no way to get to the library in town. But we COULD walk down the road to where the Bookmobile would greet us with shelves full of books!

Are there any literary events you remember, that excite you to think about today but, sad to say, no longer exist?

About pjharjo

Janette is an author of Romantic Paranormal Fantasy. CONNECTIONS, her first series, is Indie published. You can follow her or sign up for her newsletter, and learn more about her new releases as they become available, at She lives in the beautiful and prolific Pacific NW of the USA.
This entry was posted in childhood, Friendship, Life, romance, writing, youth. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Bookmobile!

  1. Iris B says:

    These bookmobiles are brilliant, right? Such a shame they are “dying out”. Council should invest more to get the kids reading more. Sometimes we have to nudge people that little bit harder to help them get away from the telly/laptop/WII …. 🙂 and if coming to the doorstep does the trick, it should be considered!


    • The Bookmobile is still running here,Janette, but the surrounding area is still somewhat rural.I know it makes a run to the retirement communities, so with the ‘graying’ of the Baby-boomers, it may make something of a comeback. Back when we were kids, we had ‘stay-at-home’ moms , except for a few.Most families had ONE car, and dads took that to work.The schools were mostly withing walking distance,(except, again, where it is/was rural). Almost anyone has access to a car ,or if you live in civilization, (unlike me), there is public transportation. Bookmobiles are expensive to maintain and run, and libraries are hard-pressed to keep the newest books and computers running.
      We were talking bookstores this week,libraries last week…but books are books!


      • pjharjo says:

        I know we are talking bookstores this week, but as I mentioned, it WAS a bookstore to me and my friends! 🙂 We all lived out in the rural areas, too. And Bookmobile Day was a day we all looked forward to! It’s cool you still have bookmobiles in some form where you live, Tonette. 🙂 I also know they’re expensive, but why did they need to quit where I lived when times were good? It’s still pretty much rural where I grew up, but the excitement of bookmobile day is a distant memory.


    • Iris, the schoolchildren here must read a certain number of books at their reading level and take tests to prove that they did read it and to check their comprehension.They are allowed any other books from the schools libraries that hold their interests and believe me, the librarians go out of their way to put in books on every conceivable sport, animal,famous person, motor vehicle, books based on favorite movies, etc to try to keep their interest up in reading. They had dropped the ball for many years and people stopped reading.Now, they are working actively on the schoolchildren.


  2. jeff7salter says:

    As a library customer, I had only that single bookmobile experience I mentioned last week. But as a librarian, I often had to deal with bookmobile problems. These included breakdowns, water leaks, generator malfunctions, scheduling difficulties, etc. They were quite expensive to purchase, they wore out faster than ( believed) they should have, and they were expensive to maintain and operate.
    All that said, most of the customers who were on those routes were loyal readers who would sometimes schedule their day around the predicted time the bookmobile would arrive. And many of those customers were people who genuinely enjoyed the “visit” from the staff of the bookmobile.


    • pjharjo says:

      You are absolutely correct, Jeff! As the parents were all away at a job, we (us kids) scheduled our entire summers around the day the Bookmobile would arrive! And the social aspect of our visit, with each other and with the staff, was one of the main reasons for our visits!

      It was also so much fun to look at the side shelves, in the orange van called a Bookmobile, filled with books! My memory of using a Bookmobile is etched into my mind – from the time I climbed onboard and smelled the yummy smell of books, to looking through them to make a choice about something I wanted to read, and having so much trouble making up my mind on a favorite, comparing with friends, checking it out, and walking back home to read it so I could turn it in and get another one the next time the bookmobile came around! ah childhood memories. 🙂


  3. pjharjo says:

    Yes, Iris. Bookmobiles should be considered to get kids back into reading. They solve all problems of transportation to and from the brick and mortar library and incorporate exercise (walking) into the day, too! It seems the novelty of a library on wheels would be inspiration enough for most kids to get away from the TV or video games and take a walk just to check it out and visit with friends while they’re at it!


  4. Laurie Ryan says:

    We had a library so close to us that I never visited a bookmobile. We walked to the library a LOT.


  5. pjharjo says:

    I don’t remember ever visiting the city library. We walked to the Bookmobile until in school, and then it was the school libraries. But you know what,Laurie? I’m still happy I grew up as a country girl! 🙂 Now that I’m published, my goal is to be a country girl again!


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