lunes, 15 de agosto de 2016


Christa Zaat

King Studios, Hagerstown, Md.
First Motorized Bookmobile, 1912-16
19 x 23 cm. 
Washington County Free Library

This was a 1912 IHC Autobuggy, in front of the Washington County Library.

From the 1912 Annual Report of the Washington County Free Library... County Extension.

(Book Wagon. Miss Chrissinger.)

Last March the Library purchased an automobile especially equipped and adapted for rural delivery of books. Mr. E. A. Corderman was engaged as chauffeur and Miss Chrissinger put in charge. Despite the fact that summer is the season when the farmer and his family are most occupied, interest has everywhere been evident and good results have been obtained. In the past six months three quarters of the county has been thoroughly covered, ten new routes having been laid out in addition to the fifteen already opened.

Wherever the old wagon had gone, its absence had been keenly felt, and the new one was hailed with expressions of pleasure and satisfaction, while 342 new families availed themselves of the opportunity for use of the books.

At another cabin where a family of six or seven lived in two small rooms, the mother said with tears in her eyes, "You've no idea how much I enjoy having the children read to me!"

The advantage of sending a trained library worker out with the wagon is seen in the fact that she is increasingly depended upon to select the books, and meeting people in their own homes, can study conditions and suit the book to the individual.

The call for books of a practical nature has been constant, and often it has been impossible to supply the demand. Everywhere the people are looking to the library for the best and latest methods of truck gardening, fruit raising, agriculture in all its phases, while the farmer's wife welcomes any new suggestions in dairying, domestic science and poultry culture.

* * *

Mary Lemist Titcomb (1857–1932) was an originator in Library and Information Science. In 1905 she founded the first bookmobile or mobile library in the United States, in Maryland.
The photographs are from an album and a collection that the library owns, and a photograph album belonging to Miss Chrissinger, the librarian who was in charge of the book wagon and later bookmobiles.

It was reported that the horses names were Dandy and Black Beauty, and that they were stabled at Corderman's Livery Stable in Hagerstown. The wagon was driven by Joshua Thomas.

In August 1910 the original book wagon was destroyed. While crossing the Norfolk and Western Railroad track at St. James a freight train ran into it leaving literally nothing but fragments. In 1912 a motorized book wagon was introduced, the first of a long fleet of vehicles, taking books to the men, women and children of Washington County.

Bookmobiles are now found as part of many library systems around the world, utilizing vans and buses, but also boats, camels and even donkeys.
From the first "perambulating library" in Warrington, England in 1858 to the first 20th century book wagon in the United States in 1905, to the more modern book and media delivery systems, libraries are still taking their wares to an appreciative public.

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