Bookmobiles are traveling vehicles that transport books to local communities. These services are used as much these days thanks to the internet. Bookmobiles have great potential in their ability to inspire and educate through giving books away. National Library Outreach Day celebrates the history of bookmobiles and encourages people to bring them back to life.
History of National Library Outreach Day
Bookmobiles, or buses that transport free library books, is a service that has been in use since the early 19th century. The American School Library was one of the first traveling libraries. Published by Harper & Brothers. They would travel to rural towns and small communities and give them the chance to read new books.
Today, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has the original set of horse-drawn wooden carriers showcased. Over time, bookmobiles rose in popularity throughout the early 20th century. People began enjoyed reading books that were brought right to their neighborhood.
The concept was especially popular during the Great Depression. An effort was called for to bring libraries to the people located in the remote coves and mountainsides of Kentucky and Appalachia. These packhorse librarians, called the Pack Horse Library Project, brought books to people in remote areas. Access to books helped educate people in rural mountain areas.
The rise in bookmobiles began to decline during the 21st century when technology made reading materials available through the internet. For some, bookmobiles have become an outdated service due to high costs, and issues transporting books to people. To counteract this, people have been petitioning for greener solutions for bookmobiles.
This includes reducing their carbon footprint to help bring back the popularity of bookmobiles. Formerly known as National Bookmobile Day, and rebranded in 2021 in appreciation for how library workers outreach to their communities, National Library Outreach Day is sponsored by the American Library Association, in hopes to advocate for bookmobiles as an alternative resource. Books are important in helping educate people all over the world and give them the resources they need to learn.
How to celebrate National Library Outreach Day
Help support bookmobiles by donating to their associated library. Petition your local library to have a bookmobile service in your community. If there is a local bookmobile service in your area, support them and thank them for their services.
Bring attention to the historical significance of bookmobiles by telling your friends and family about them. Explain what bookmobiles can do for today’s youth and how important reading is. If you work in a library, start your bookmobile service and travel around your community to give children free books to read.