Monday, April 9, 2018

"Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's First Bookmobile" by Sharlee Glenn (Abrams)

Here's a fascinating slice of history about a pioneering librarian who really set the wheels in motion to revolutionise book lending...
"Library on Wheels" tells the story of Mary Lemist Titcomb (1852–1932).

WHO? You may well ask but Mary was one of the first people to set up mobile libraries. As a  librarian at the Washington County Free Library in Maryland, Titcomb was concerned that the library was not reaching all the people it could.

Times were incredibly hard, and in large cities like Washington people couldn't always afford to travel from the outskirts of the city or nearby towns to visit the only library available.

Mary was determined that everyone should have access to the library―not just adults and those who lived close.

Realising its limitations and inability to reach the county’s 25,000 rural residents, including farmers and their families, Titcomb set about to change the library system forever with the introduction of book-deposit stations throughout the country, a children’s room in the library, and her most revolutionary idea of all―a horse-drawn Book Wagon.

Soon book wagons were appearing in other parts of the country, and by 1922, the book wagon idea had received widespread support. The bookmobile was born!

It seems incredible to think that some of the ideas in this book haven't always been in libraries (particularly rooms or areas specially set up for children). Titcomb was indeed an amazing pioneer and this book is filled with amazing facts and truly awesome photographs documenting Mary's life and her incredible achievements.

A real treat this.

"Library on Wheels" by Sharlee Glenn is out now, published by Abrams (kindly supplied for review).