Bookmobiles and Public Libraries

One of my favorite childhood memories was of the Howard County Bookmobile rumbling up our gravel driveway. You’d have thought it was an ice cream truck with the way all the kids from the neighborhood flocked to our house.

In my mind and memories, it was the coolest contraption EVER! A truck filled with books, brought straight to my doorstep – JOY, HAPPY,HAPPY, JOY, JOY!

This is not the bookmobile of my youth, but I love the fact it gives us a glimpse of how long this idea has been around. This picture is the first bookmobile in Jefferson County, Texas


So, here’s a little background. I grew up in the tail end of a county that was extremely diverse. It had urban, suburban, and agricultural pockets through out its boundaries. My particular part of Howard county was zoned agricultural, so lot size was minimum 5-acres. My parents decided they liked the area and went about building a house in the middle of no where. School was a 45 min bus ride and the grocery store was 20 minutes away. My parents wanted to work the land. We had a 1/2 acre garden with more green beans, zucchini, and tomatoes than we could use. The folks planted a 40 tree orchard that produced apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, and more. By the time I was ready to leave for college, I was well versed in the art of canning and hated picking green beans.

We kids ran like heathens through the fields, tromping through the creek in the back, and playing games that were all based in imagination. It was a good place and way to grow-up.

Yet, we really were in the middle of no where.

I’m not sure what magic my parents wrought, but Mom persuaded the Howard County Public Library system that there was a need for a bookmobile and we’d be the host for it. It might have been the fact that our library cards proved we loved to read.

The bookmobile, with its many wonders, created a lifetime love of books and libraries.

Times are tough, we hear about branches of libraries closing due to lack of funding or, gasp, attendance. Programs like the bookmobile and story time only come about with community support.

Support your libraries and you will be giving the gift of imagination to people old and young.





  • One of your best posts, Leila – thank you. I remember the bookmobile too. Books never quite lose the sense of adventure. “OH LOOK – I HAVE SOMETHING NEW TO READ!”

    Ahh, and I remember having endless hours every single day for reading.

    • Thanks Diane! I also remember the look of terror on substitute bookmobile drivers when we’d check out our limit (30 books every 2 weeks). 🙂

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