Last year, right around this time, I wrote about my childhood love of the Bookmobile in this post. For a young girl who loved reading, the Bookmobile was a source of wonder. It traveled all over the city and once a week it arrived in the parking lot of my elementary school, which happened to be two blocks from my home. I would walk there, sometimes alone, sometimes with my mom, and eagerly await my opportunity to climb those steps and enter a magical world of books on wheels.
At the time I wrote that post, I searched and searched for photos of a Bookmobile that would look like the one I remembered and I couldn’t find any. So I used a photo of books on shelves.
I belong to a group on Facebook that is all about growing up in my hometown of Dearborn, Michigan. I’m continually amazed at all the memories we share and the details some of my fellow Dearbornites remember about certain places or events. It makes me very nostalgic. Lo and behold, there was a post recently about our hometown Bookmobile – with pictures. These are from the year 1949 (before my time) when Dearborn first acquired its Bookmobile.
(Photos courtesy of the Dearborn Historical Society.)
Ah, there it is! Two of our schools were named after Clara Snow and Edgar Bryant, by the way. These were big names in our community. The Bookmobile is brand, spanking new in this picture. Imagine how excited everyone must have been! A library on wheels, ready to travel all over the city, giving everyone a chance to read and check out books.
Do you remember getting your first library card? Oh my. I distinctly remember what mine looked like.
How wonderful it must have been for these kids when the Bookmobile first made an appearance. A traveling library? How cool!
I love these photos. I remember the pattern on that linoleum floor. I remember what it looked like when it was wet from the constant traffic of snow booted kids, I remember kneeling down to grab books on that bottom shelf. I remember the cool driver’s seat that turned and became the librarian’s chair and the neat counter that lifted up and out of the way if the librarian needed to come out and help us find something.
I truly thought that would be the most wondrous job in the world. I wanted to drive that bookmobile and sit behind that desk. What’s not to love? You’d get to be around books all the time, never be in the same place two days in a row, sit behind a counter and stamp the inside cover of books with the due date. You’d get to run your own magical mobile library. I wanted to be that librarian.
I spent many hours in the Bookmobile. Eventually, as I got older, I graduated to our Main Library and then to the newly constructed Centennial Library, leaving behind my Bookmobile days. Did I realize that it would eventually become a sort of dinosaur? Of course not. I still can’t imagine it.
Wouldn’t it be great to salvage a Bookmobile, restore it and use it as your home library? You could add a cozy chair or two and when you wanted to read in peace, you could leave your home, walk a few steps to the now restored Bookmobile, and retreat to your own personal library. Oh boy! I’d rather have that than a trailer-turned-creative-space.
I want my very own Bookmobile.
I seem to remember from the comments on my previous post that there are still Bookmobiles out there. Gosh, I hope so. I realize that there are all sorts of digital opportunities for reading nowadays. But how can that compete with getting your first library card, climbing those steps and entering a world of three-dimensional books? With holding a book in your hand, skimming the first page, wondering whether this book is worthy of being included in your pile of books for that week? How can that compete with turning the pages as you launch into another fictional adventure?
I’m so grateful for all of that. The Bookmobile in our town was a pivotal part of my childhood. These photos make me nostalgic for another time and place. They make me smile.
Did you have a Bookmobile in your hometown? Do you remember getting your first library card?