The Impact Of Bookmobiles On Life Long Learning

Every year during National Library Week, Wednesday is set aside to recognize and celebrate the Bookmobile. What is a bookmobile, you might ask? Is it designed anything like the Batmobile; outfitted with gadgets and crime fighting mechanisms? Well, in some ways it is. Although the physical body of the bookmobile is shaped more like a bus or a service truck, and not an expensive sports car. It is outfitted with shelves and brackets that make it possible for librarians to fill them with books and other information sharing gadgets, then transport them to places where library patrons who live in rural communities can access the materials.

The article “”The World On Wheels: Bookmobile The Center Of Rural Life”” is written by Nella Letizia who is a Washington State University Library Systems employee. In the article she recounts how she stumbled upon a bookmobile when she was a child growing up in Boise, Idaho and how a fellow WSU coworker and her family was impacted by their community bookmobile in Benton City, Washington. Their stories show how crime fighting mechanisms can be more than just ropes, hooks, and turbo boosters. And how bookmobiles that are purposely stocked with materials that cover a wide range of subjects can be just as effective for stimulating minds and filling idle time.

Bookmobiles have been around for more than 100 years, and they are still active in many rural communities across the United States. However, in other countries, the books are designed to be transported by animals or bicycles instead of motor powered vehicles, but they serve the same purpose. And, many modern day bookmobiles are now equipped with WI-FI, so that patrons may also access the internet for free. Other bookmobile outreaches include being present at festivals, at school events, expos, and in town parades.

I had a similar introduction to the wonder of words and books, in that, my father bought a set of encyclopedias from a traveling salesman in 1975. My mother tried her best to dissuade him, but he would not be deterred. He died in 1983 when I was eleven years old. We moved to another house, and it was in there that I discovered the encyclopedias on a book shelf. I instantly fell in love with words in the form of Nursery rhymes, riddles, puzzles, and definitions. Punctuation, dates, and numbers were bothersome interruptions that, later, I would come to realize are very necessary for relaying written information. But, by that time I was hooked on words. I believe in lifelong learning and how an early introduction to literature can have lasting positive effects on people who do not have ready access to the resources of a library.