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“You needn’t stop. We’ve no use for that death wagon around here,” a farmer shouted as a black horse-drawn wagon approached his Allegheny farm. It was not a hearse; it was America’s first traveling library. The year was 1905.

 The first book wagon came about thanks to the dedication of The Washington County Free Library librarian, Mary Lemist Titcomb. She was determined to distribute books to the people of the community that had little or no access to the local library. She knew her community consisted of a “great army of men and women who use our public libraries to read because it gives them pleasure – because through books they are lifted out of all routine of every-day life, their imaginations are quickened and for the brief space that the books holds them in thrall the colors of life assume a brighter tint.”

 Book mobiles have a special place in my heart. Bezuidenhout Valley, the suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, that I lived in as a child, didn’t have a library. Every two weeks, I’d sprint home from school, change out of my uniform, put on my tackies (sneakers), run the four blocks to the corner of First Avenue and Second Street and wait anxiously for the traveling library to arrive.            

As I climbed the steps up into the bus, I’d savor the tantalizing aroma of books and petrol fumes. We were only allowed to check out three books so that meant some tough decisions had to be made. Should I take three Willard Price books, or Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or Secret Seven, or should I take Nancy Drew mysteries? Or should I risk one of my choices on a book by an author I’d never read before?

 At that time of my life, being new to the neighborhood, books were my only friends. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I’d fly through the my library books and the fortnight would crawl by until, hip hip hooray, Traveling Library Day!

 And so, I bring you to the 3rd annual library-loving blog challenge hosted by  Jenn Hubbard writerjenn. It won’t cost you a dime, only a moment of your time. For every comment posted here between March 28 and April 2nd, I will donate one dollar, (up to a maximum of $100) to a traveling library. Your comment doesn’t have to be anything fancy or witty, a simple “I love libraries!” will do. Or you can tell me about your adventures in bookmobiles or about a librarian that has inspired you.

 Spread the word ... please link to this post, tweet about it, mention it on Facebook, etc. You can raise money for additional local libraries by visiting the blogs of others participating in this blog challenge at http://writerjenn.livejournal.com/234087.html



( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 28th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the interesting bit of book wagon history! Hooray for libraries :).
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
Hooray for you, too!
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
As a current student of library science, I definitely appreciate this. And why yes, I do love libraries!
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
Spreading the library love; good job us.
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
Leave a comment, help a library
User writerjenn referenced to your post from Leave a comment, help a library saying: [...] * Angela De Groot [...]
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Leave a comment, help a library
tagged the ping, thank you
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
I can't live without my library! hugs -
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
hugs to you, too.
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
Nice blog
It is very interesting for me to read the post. Thank author for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Jenny Trider
cell phone jammer buy (http://www.phone-blocker.com/)
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice blog
Thank you.
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
I love the history and the cause! Huzzah for traveling libraries :)
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the support.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
Go spinach! Go Broccoli! (another retreat rally cry)
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
Library love ROCKS!!!!!
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
And so do you for spreading the love.
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
Yay! Libraries! This is wonderful. Thanks for doing it!
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks for helping me towards my goal.
Mar. 29th, 2011 02:11 am (UTC)
I don't think I've ever seen a traveling library, but I would like to!! Unless I did as a child and don't remember it? We lived in fairly big cities that had libraries, so probably not. Anyway, good for you!!
Mar. 29th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Lisa.
Mar. 29th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
That story sounds like a picture book!

Yay for books!

Mar. 29th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for stopping by and supporting such a great cause.
Mar. 31st, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
The early BookMobile! Wonderful. Thanks for being a friend of the library. I'm doing the challenge for the second year and loving it.
Mar. 31st, 2011 02:50 pm (UTC)
Way to go!
Mar. 31st, 2011 01:12 am (UTC)
I love seeing all this blog love for libraries.
Mar. 31st, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Libraries
Me too!
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
Hooray for libraries!
I love libraries and the library-loving blog challenge! :)
Mar. 31st, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Hooray for libraries!
Thanks for stopping by and helping me cough up another dollar.
Mar. 31st, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
Books and gas fumes?! Goodness. Bet a gas station causes sudden pangs to read something long-form...
Thanks for participating, fellow library-loving challenge taker!
Mar. 31st, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for supporting.
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( 44 comments — Leave a comment )


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