Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America’s First Bookmobile
Author Sharlee Glenn
Age range 5-8
It is the history that does not make it into the history books that prove to be the most fascinating. Case in point with Library on Wheels where Sharlee Glenn tells a relatively unknown story of Mary Lemist Titcomb a librarian who started the first bookmobile in American in 1905. The library was known as the Washington County Free Library in Maryland, but Titcomb realized that over half of the county’s population lived far from the town in farm areas that left people scattered, the result being that many had no access to books or to learning. Titcomb came up with the idea of bringing the library to the people by means of a horse and wagon. What was deemed a crazy plan flourished into the first book wagon that could hold 200 books. The vision of the book wagon revolved around human interaction and children at that time found delight in borrowing many books at once. As times changed so did the book wagon getting an upgrade in 1912 to an auto wagon that held more than 300 books. Glenn tells a fascinating history not just of the library but of America itself, as technology changed so did the “book wagon”, improvement that gave more people better access to books.
A Bookish Decree: Glenn writes thanks to Titcomb “America was changed forever”. One person is all it takes.