Nation celebrates the value of bookmobiles April 11, 2018

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/03/2018

Contact:

Steve Zalusky

Communications Specialist

Public Awareness Office

American Library Association

(312) 280-1546

szalusky@ala.org

CHICAGO – Every day, bookmobiles help transform the communities they serve, providing everything from access to books, magazines and videos to job search assistance and much more.

On Wednesday, April 11, our nation celebrates National Bookmobile Day. For more than 100 years, bookmobiles have delivered information, technology and resources for life-long learning to Americans of all walks of life.

Since 2010, National Bookmobile Day has been celebrated in conjunction with National Library Week (held this year from April 8-14) and honors mobile delivery outreach as an integral and vital part of library service in the United States. National Bookmobile Day is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA).

Bookmobiles can be found around the world, in many different forms – from the familiar bus or van-like vehicles to other means of transport, including a biblioburro in rural Colombia, a camel library service in Uganda, the M.S. Epos library ship in Norway, and elephant libraries in Thailand.

Mobile branches like the Fountaindale Public Library District in Bolingbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, offer the same services as a local library branch, including books, audio books, music on CD, large print books, DVDs and magazines. Fountaindale’s bookmobile reaches patrons of all ages, visiting schools and senior centers, often closing the gap for residents who do not have convenient access to a library facility.

In Pitt County (North Carolina) the bookmobile circulates 3 percent of the Sheppard Memorial Library’s materials annually.

The Rochester Hills (Minnesota) Public Library’s bookmobile visits 24 locations each week.

And in Lee County, Mississippi, which has operated a bookmobile service for 76 years, bookmobile driver Barbara Carouthers has logged 55,000 miles since 2006.

In the U.S., libraries have found creative ways to celebrate. Last year, the library in Lompoc, California, held a bilingual storytime celebration, while in Aurora, Illinois, the library offered a “Books & Bagels” open house. This year, several libraries will celebrate their bookmobiles’ “birthdays” in conjunction with National Bookmobile Day. The Iowa City Public Library will host a first birthday bash for their mobile delivery outreach, and in North Berwick, Maine, the Tri-Town Bookmobile will launch on April 11, serving rural communities across a 132 square mile area. 

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is observed each April by the American Library Association and libraries across the country.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of National Library Week. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is observed each April by the American Library Association and libraries across the country. National Library Week celebrations include the release of the ALA’s 2018 “State of America’s Libraries Report,” April 9; National Library Workers Day, April 10; and Take Action for Libraries Day, April 12. In addition, April is School Library Month, which is sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the ALA.

National Bookmobile Day is coordinated by the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS), and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL).

To schedule interviews with library experts, please contact Steve Zalusky, communications specialist, at szalusky@ala.org or 312-280-1546.