|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
Here Comes the Bookmobile
By Donatella Maffin
June 16, 2010
“Here comes the bookmobile!” I can hear the kids shouting as I arrive at a local daycare.
They’ll come on board and rifle through the shelves looking for just the right book or movie. They’ll listen to a story and get a stamp. It is great fun to watch them get excited about reading, and it is a privilege to help keep that excitement alive.
The bookmobile is a special experience for these children and for many adults as well, but the concept is not new. Where did it come from? When did it start?
Surprisingly enough the first recorded bookmobile was in Warrington, England in 1858. It was called the perambulating library. This concept was adopted in America in 1905. Mary Lemist Titcomb, the first head librarian in Washington County, Maryland, came up with the idea for a library book wagon.
The purpose of the book wagon was to reach those in rural areas that would not normally make it in to town to use the library. It was a huge success and still one of our own goals today.
Natrona County includes many small communities far from the county seat that would not otherwise have easy access to the educational and recreational materials a library provides. To this day, the bookmobile remains an important way to ensure all county citizens have the opportunity for lifelong learning and self-improvement.
In 1912 the first motorized bookmobile was introduced, and today bookmobiles can be found in almost every state.
The NCPL bookmobile was first introduced in 1956. A grocery delivery truck was converted by the school district and used to carry about 2,000 books provided by the library. This first bookmobile ran for two summers, helping to continue the Bookworm program kids participated in during the school year.
In January of 1971 the “Reading Roustabout,” a converted school bus, began regular runs throughout the county. This bus ran year round with as many as thirty stops per week.
In July of 1981 “Old Blue” was dedicated as the new NCPL bookmobile. “Old Blue” operated for nearly twenty five years with approximately twenty stops per week.
In July of 2004 the newest bookmobile was dedicated. It carries over 5,000 fiction and non fiction books, books on CD, music CD’s, magazines and movies for everyone from the youngest child to our oldest patrons.
Today’s bookmobile serves approximately 600 patrons at about 50 stops and over 3,500 items are checked out each month.
The bookmobile serves elementary schools, day cares, assisted living centers and community stops throughout the county. We issue library cards to people of all ages, place holds, and accept returns from the main library as well as our branch libraries in Edgerton and Mills.
All bookmobile stops are open to the public. Look for us at the NIC Fest next weekend or the Back to School Bash in early August. Next time you see the bookmobile parked in your neighborhood or at a local event, stop in, say hello and see what we have on board
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