Posts Tagged ‘National Bookmobile Day’

Wheeled Wonders: a celebration of Bookmobiles

by Mari Redington on April 9th, 2019

Students from Alexander after a bookmobile visit.

National Bookmobile Day is Wednesday April 10th, and all week we are celebrating the second birthday of our very own ICPL bookmobile!

I spend almost half of my work week on the Bookmobile, and my favorite statement that I often hear is, “I loved the Bookmobile when I was a kid.” I hear this from Iowa City residents of all ages with home towns all over the country. For many, visiting a Bookmobile is an experience they will never forget. Bookmobiles are nostalgic, and let’s face it, they’re just neat.

For more than 100 years bookmobiles have brought a library to those that otherwise may not have access to one. So, in honor of a holiday of celebrating the wonderful services bookmobiles all over the world provide, I have scoured the internet for the most “novel,” whimsical and just plain neat bookmobiles over the past century.


Originating in the nineteenth century, the earliest bookmobiles were horse-drawn wagons filled with boxes of books. However, in the 1920s, Sarah Byrd Askew, a New Jersey librarian, thought reading and literacy so important that she delivered books to rural readers in her own Ford Model T. (From the Multnomah County Library Archives.)




During the Great Depression, there was a fleet of “book women” who delivered books, regardless of weather, to rural communities in Appalachia. These women would ride 100-120 miles every week on horseback, traversing dangerous terrain, to ensure that their readers received their books on time. (From the Kentucky Library and Archives.)







The Biblioburro is a mobile library that brings books to children in remote rural areas of Colombia using two donkeys. It’s been the subject of a PBS POV film and inspired a popular children’s book, Waiting for the Biblioburro. (From the PBS POV Archive.)








Iowa’s first mobile library rolled out in 1926 via the County Library Committee of the Iowa Library Association. The idea of the book caravan, also known as “The Lydia”, was conceived by Miss Lydia Barrette, city librarian at Mason City. Every county in Iowa could secure the use of this library on wheels for a week at a cost of $50, to help stimulate interest in the levy of a tax so that each county might have its own library and caravan.



Here’s some stunning photos of the Utah State Library Bookmobile is traveling near Zion National Park circa 1970. (From the Utah State Library.)






This Bookmobile Tank is a ‘Weapon of Mass Instruction.’ In 2015, Argentine artist Raul Lemesoff created a Ford Falcon-based “tank” that’s armored with free books that he distributes, gratis, to people in and around Buenos Aires.

Garbage collectors in the Turkish capital Ankara decided to give discarded books a new life by creating a unique bookmobile that tours schools in suburban districts to impart the passion for reading in children. With a total population of 5.5 million people, the Turkish large capital province Ankara is divided into 25 districts, where not all schools have the privilege of a usable library. (From the Borneo Bulletin.)

BiebBus is a children’s mobile library from the Netherlands. A traditional bookmobile would be too big for the narrow Dutch streets, so the BiebBus can expand – vertically. The bottom room is filled with shelves with 7,000 children’s books. Through the transparent ceiling you can see the upper room, which is a wonderful reading and playing area. BiebBus has a total space of 52 square meters, and offers space for 30-45 kids.

Green Day’s first tour bus was an old bookmobile van that drummer Tre Cool’s dad refurbished into a unique tour bus. Last year, Green Day donated the dilapidated bookmobile to Wheels For Wishes to be restored, after which it was sent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland. The proceeds from auctioning this donation will go towards helping Make-A- Wish grant wishes to local children. (From Wheels For Wishes)

The Mongolian Children’s Mobile Library carried by camel to nomadic herding communities and remote parts of the Gobi desert.









This is Bahman Beigi’s mobile library in Iran. Mohammad Bahman Beigi was a passionate activist who devoted his life to educate nomadic communities in Iran. In the 1970s he visited numerous desert villages, bringing in his jeep the books to read.

Last but not least, here are a few photos of our now 2-year old ICPL Bookmobile over the years!

ICPL’s Bookmobile on the day of it’s arrival 2 years ago this week!


Just recently, hitting 10,000 miles, the Bookmobile has been all across Iowa City, helping patrons of all ages in rain and shine, snow and heat, and anything else Iowa weather has to offer.

Please help us celebrate this week and year round by continuing to visit and use the resources our Bookmobile can offer!


Get ready to celebrate the Bookmobile!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 2nd, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, is National Bookmobile Day – but why celebrate for a day when a week is longer?

Join us as we celebrate National Bookmobile Week April 8 through April 12! Anyone who visits the Bookmobile that week will receive a sweet treat and other goodies. You can find our schedule here.

Patrons who post a photo of our Bookmobile with the #icplbookmobile hashtag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter April 8 through April 12, will be entered in a drawing for a Bookmobile travel mug. Feel free to visit the Bookmobile more than once that week to increase your chances of winning!

We’ll see you on the road!

Celebrating on the Bookmobile

by Shawna Riggins on April 13th, 2018

Though the Bookmobile is always a happy place (who doesn’t love the novelty of a library on wheels?!) we saw even more smiles than usual this week. To celebrate National Bookmobile Day and our Bookmobile’s 1st Birthday, we provided some special treats, freebies, and programming on our Mobile Library all week long.

At our weekly school stops we were met by a brand new Iowa City Transit bus so students could tour the vehicle and learn about the City’s Summer Library Bus program, which allows kids to ride to the Library for FREE in the Summer. Read more about how to utilize this program and our Ride and Read service on our website.

Even our Little Library Bear couldn’t resist visiting the Bookmobile this week! We think he isn’t quite ready to drive, but he likes to dream.

Though we are wrapping up the celebration today, our service is still going strong! View our schedule to meet us at any of our weekly stops to check the Bookmobile out for yourself!

Happy Birthday Bookmobile!

by Kara Logsden on April 13th, 2018

Bookmobile at Mercer ParkThis week the Iowa City Public Library’s Bookmobile celebrates its first anniversary of taking Library services on the road and what a GREAT YEAR it has been!

We drove 6,000 miles, greeted over 12,000 visitors and checked out more than 20,000 items. In the summer we averaged 7 checkouts per mile.

We had 79 storytime programs in or near the Bookmobile with 2,650 attendees.

We answered over 1,000 questions and collected over 4,000 items from the Downtown collection that were returned to the Bookmobile.

We have taken thousands of Holds from the Downtown collection to the Bookmobile for convenient pick-up at locations across the community that offer free parking and easy access to the Bookmobile. In March 2018 alone we sent 399 Holds from the Downtown collection to the Bookmobile.

Our busiest stops are Breckenridge Estates, Helen Lemme Elementary, Mark Twain Elementary, Mercer Park, Oaknoll Retirement Community and University of Iowa Community Credit Union (Mormon Trek) – over 1,000 items was checked out at each of these stops since July 1, 2017.

We’ve learned a lot over the past year. We’ve rotated where collections are shelved on the Bookmobile, added more items people asked for (Cookbooks, Graphic Novels, Large Print, more Nonfiction) and adjusted the schedule based on what we learned about the time it takes to drive between stops and prepare the Bookmobile each day for service.

If you haven’t visited the ICPL Bookmobile yet, please plan a visit. A full schedule is available at We’ll see you in the community!

PS – Watch for our summer schedule that runs June 4th through August 17th. We’re adding a couple stops and planning for Stories in the Park programs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

National Bookmobile Week

by Kara Logsden on April 5th, 2018

We’re so excited about National Bookmobile Day we’re celebrating ALL WEEK!

Visit any ICPL Bookmobile stop between April 9 and 12 and receive a sweet treat and other goodies to help us celebrate one year of Bookmobile service.

The Iowa City Public Library’s Bookmobile rolled into town in April of 2017. After nearly a year of service, we have a lot to celebrate! Over 20,000 items checked out, over 12,000 visitors, and 79 storytime programs offered with over 2,500 people attending. We average about 6 checkouts per mile driven.

Iowa City Transit is also helping us celebrate National Bookmobile Week at our elementary school stops – Monday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Lemme, Tuesday from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. at Grant Wood, and Thursday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Mark Twain. These stops will include a visit from the City of Iowa City Transit Department and one of the City’s new Transit buses.

A complete Bookmobile schedule can be found at For more information, please call the Library at 319-356-5200 or visit us at the ICPL Bookmobile.

National Bookmobile Day Celebration

by Shawna Riggins on April 3rd, 2017

Help welcome the Iowa City Public Library Bookmobile to town and check out materials from the Antelope Lending Library at the community National Bookmobile Day Celebration at Mercer Park NationalBookMobileDay2017
Wednesday April 12th from 5:30 – 7:30.  Celebrating with us will be other vehicles that provide important mobile services such as a fire truck, police car, University of Iowa Mobile Clinic, University of Iowa Mobile Museum, Table to Table van, an IC Transit bus, and more!

Enjoy live music performed by the Dandelion Stompers and free activities courtesy of Zen Den, BackTogether Massage, Katie Ross with ZIPS (Zines in Public Schools) and join in on a book making activity led by Iowa City Parks and Recreation. Have your face painted, make a craft (there will be many to choose from!), get your hands on the bookmobiles’ summer schedules, and nab a special bookmobile-themed giveaway.

With the ICPL Bookmobile’s Summer Schedule start date of June 1st on the horizon, we can’t wait take our new bookmobile out for a spin. There won’t be books on board quite yet, so take this chance to get a unique peek at our freshly built Bookmobile. We hope to see you there!


Spotting the ICPL Bookmobile

by Shawna Riggins on March 29th, 2017

The Library is always a hub of excitement as Summer approaches and our countdown to the Summer Reading Program begins. This year, we have even more to look forward to as we prepare to roll out (er…drive out) our brand new Bookmobile.

Though regular Bookmobile operating hours won’t start until June 1, you will likely see our big blue Bookmobile around town in the weeks leading up to the start of the Summer Schedule.nationalbookmobileday

The first opportunity to meet our Bookmobile will be at the community National Bookmobile Day celebration on April 12 from 5:30-7:30 pm at Mercer Park. Along with live music and family fun, you’ll get a unique peek at our Bookmobile during this event; Books and DVDs won’t be on the truck until later in the month. Thank you to our friends at Iowa City Parks and Recreation for hosting this event and providing a book making activity!

Be sure to bring an extra bag to the Farmer’s Market this spring. Your first chance to check out Bookmobile materials will be when the Bookmobile is parked at the Iowa City Saturday Farmer’s Market in May and June.

The ICPL Bookmobile’s Summer schedule will run from June 1 – August 18. View our schedule on our webpage or pick up a printed copy at the Library. We will be around town Mondays through Fridays in the Summertime with some special weekend events you won’t want to miss. To stay up-to-date on Bookmobile news and events, be sure to sign up for our Newsletter, the Windshield.

If you spot us as we are out and about, getting a feel for the route, we’d love to hear about it on Social Media. Find us on Facebook, Twitter @ICPL, and on Instagram @iowacitypubliclibrary.2017-03-bookmobile-drawing