Booking Through Thursday - Early Memories of Libraries

The Booking Through Thursday questions today were suggested by Margaret:

Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. (There’s no way my parents could otherwise have kept up with my book habit when I was 10.) So … What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

The BookMobile came to our neighborhood every couple of weeks in the summer, when we didn't have access to our school library. It was exciting - almost as exciting as visits from the ice cream truck! I remember it feeling like a special treat to walk the few blocks to the van to discover what treasures it held this time. (There was always a chance I might run into Jimmy O'Brien there too!)

It was tiny. It was hot and cramped. It smelled of dust and diesel and sweaty little bodies. And I loved it. During those summers I discovered the stories of Helen Keller and Anne Frank, Clara Barton and Little Women. Here were adventure, inspiration, girl and women role models that were far out of the norm of my little 1960s suburban neighborhood: escape, all lined up on a few small shelves in an old van.

We lived quite a distance from the brick and mortar public library, so having the BookMobile come to the neighborhood probably saved me from an overdose of MAD and TEEN magazines and daytime television.

Read Elizabeth's skunk-book connection here and Angela's Nancy Drew memories here.



jlshall said...

You know, I had forgotten all about the bookmobile until I read your post. I think I may actually have gotten my very first library card at a bookmobile library. Strange how the mind can block out some really pleasant memories! Thanks for bringing them back.

Smilingsal said...

I used to love the bookmobile when it came around during the summer. Our had a noisy air conditioner, and it rocked side to side as people moved inside. I remember once having to wait outside for someone to exit because it got too full.

Anonymous said...

We never had a bookmobile. Maybe I grew up too late or perhaps it was the community I lived in. I've always heard about them, but never got to experience them. I think I would've been more excited about the bookmobile than the ice cream truck! :)

LisaMM said...

We didn't have the book mobile in the suburbs of Detroit, but I remember my mother talking about it- she grew up in the city. Great memories- thanks for sharing!

LisaMM said...

Hi again Terri, I tried to find your email address but couldn't find it.. could you email me at lisamunleyATcaDOTrrDOTcom? I have a question for you!

BooksPlease said...

Well it wasn't my first library experience, but we had a mobile library that came to our road for a short while when I was a child - I think it was run by one man - not part of the public library system, I'm not sure. It was just in his car and he came to the house - or maybe I dreamt this !!! I can't imagine my parents could afford to pay a subscription to a private service. But it's there in my memory - strange.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Mad Magazine, Terri? In its own way, it was very literate, at least, a little more literate than Cracked. ;)

Anyway, about the bookmobile, our small town was the same way with the county bookmobile coming to visit our town (about three miles away from our house). Now that you mention it, I don't think ours had air conditioning either. As I recall, they had little fans that didn't do much good. However, it was definitely a portal to escape those summers. Thanks for the photos, too, that brought back fond memories.