The bookmobile of the Ottawa Public Library at the Sunnyside branch, its former headquarters. Note the backwards branding (in both English and French, owing to Ottawa's large francophone population) above the windshield. This particular model is based on a Saf-T-Liner HDX chassis.

A bookmobile or mobile library is a large vehicle designed for use as a library. It is designed to hold books on shelves so that when the vehicle is parked the books can be accessed by readers. It usually has enough space for people to sit and read books inside.[citation needed] Mobile libraries are often used to provide library services to villages and city suburbs that have no library buildings. They can also service groups of those who have difficulty accessing libraries, e.g., occupants of retirement homes. They may also carry other information or computer equipment. Some libraries also use their bookmobiles to deliver materials, such as audio books and large print novels, to homebound people who do not have anyone to go to the library for them.[citation needed]



The Perambulating Library of 1859 in Warrington, Cheshire

The British Workman reported in 1857[1] on a perambulating library operating in a circle of eight villages in Cumbria, including Mealsgate, the birthplace of George Moore,[2] the Victorian merchant and philanthropist who was the President of the Committee managing this Scheme designed to "diffuse good literature among the rural population". The Warrington Perambulating Library set up in 1858 was another early British mobile library. This horse-drawn van was operated by the Warrington Mechanics' Institute, which was anxious to increase the borrowing of its books.[3]

An early bookmobile in the United States was a mule-drawn wagon which carried wooden boxes of books in Chester County, SC. The People's Free Library started this service to the rural areas of Chester County around 1904.[4]

Another early American bookmobile was developed by Mary Lemist Titcomb[5] (1857–1932). The librarian at the Washington County, Maryland Free Library, Titcomb was concerned that the library was not reaching all of the people it could. The annual report for 1902 lists "23 branches", collections of 50 books in a case placed in stores and post offices around the county.[6]. Realizing this still failed to reach all of the county's rural residents, in 1905 the Washington County Free Library provided one of the first American book wagons to residents by taking the books directly to their homes in remote parts of the county.[7]

The Gerstenslager company specialized in building mobile libraries and similar vehicles in the 1950s.

The Internet Archive Bookmobile prints out-of-copyright books on demand, and in whatever type size is desired. The project has spun off similar efforts elsewhere in the developing world.[8]

To meet the growing demand for "greener" bookmobiles that deliver outreach services to their patrons, some bookmobile manufacturers have introduced significant advances that reduce carbon footprint such as solar/battery solutions over traditional generators, and all-electric and hybrid electric chassis.

Other mobile libraries

Bookmobiles are used in many countries, but a mobile library can be run without a vehicle. Examples include:

  • A Camel Library Service in Kenya. This service which is funded by the Kenyan government and as a charity in Garissa and Wajir near the border with Somalia. The service started with three camels in October 1996 and had twelve in 2006 delivering 7000 books,[9] daily in English, Somali and Swahili[10] This service has been used as a background for the novel "The Camel Bookmobile" by Masha Hamilton.
  • A donkey-drawn mobile library in Zimbabwe[11] is being used to not only deliver books, but also to deliver access to the internet and multimedia.
  • The Biblioburro: another donkey-drawn travelling library in Colombia.
  • The library ship Epos serves many small communities in Western Norway.
  • Elephant Libraries in Thailand. In Thailand, elephants are used to take books and IT equipment and services to remote villages with no other library service.[12]

Further reading


  1. ^ an article, [[The British Workman], 1 February 1857,
  2. ^ George Moore,, accessed September 2011
  3. ^ Orton, Ian (1980). An Illustrated History of Mobile Library Services in the UK with notes on travelling libraries and early public library transport. Sudbury: Branch and Mobile Libraries Group of the Library Association. ISBN 0853656401. 
  4. ^ Chester County Free Public Library history, accessed May 2010
  5. ^ The first county bookmobile in the US
  6. ^ Washington County Free Library, First Annual Report for the Year ending October 1, 1902
  7. ^ Maryland State Archives, Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, Washington County Free Library
  8. ^ The Internet Archive Bookmobile
  9. ^ Kenya's children of the desert Guardian Unlimited Dec 2005 accessed June 2007
  10. ^ Kenyan Camel Book Drive accessed June 2007
  11. ^ Donkeys help provide Multi-media Library Services IFPlant Feb 2002 Accessed June 2007
  12. ^ IFLA Mobile Section Newsletter Number 1 Autumn 2002

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • bookmobile — ☆ bookmobile [book′mō bēl΄, book′məbēl΄ ] n. [ BOOK + MOBILE] a traveling lending library transported in a truck, trailer, etc. to small towns or rural areas lacking permanent libraries …   English World dictionary

  • bookmobile — /book meuh beel , moh /, n. an automobile, small truck, or trailer constructed to carry books and serve as a traveling library, as for communities where libraries are not accessible. [1935 40; BOOK + MOBILE] * * * also called  Book Van, or… …   Universalium

  • bookmobile — UK [ˈbʊkməʊˌbiːl] / US [ˈbʊkmoʊˌbɪl] noun [countable] Word forms bookmobile : singular bookmobile plural bookmobiles American a mobile library …   English dictionary

  • bookmobile — noun Date: 1926 a truck that serves as a traveling library …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bookmobile — noun A mobile library; especially, a large van designed to transport a portion of some librarys collection …   Wiktionary

  • Bookmobile — Передвижной книжный магазин или передвижная библиотека …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • bookmobile — book|mo|bile [ˈbukməbi:l] n AmE a vehicle that contains a library and travels to different places so that people can use it British Equivalent: mobile library …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bookmobile — book|mo|bile [ bukmou,bil ] noun count AMERICAN a vehicle with a small library inside it, that travels around so that people can use it in different places …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • bookmobile — məʊ‚biːl n. truck that serves as a traveling library …   English contemporary dictionary

  • bookmobile — [ bʊkməˌbi:l] noun N. Amer. a mobile library …   English new terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”