Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bookmobiles and Festivals

Bookmobiles - were you enamored of them, too? They combined two of my early-onset passions, books and gypsy caravans. What could be better than driving around in a self-contained vehicle, on my own, delivering books (nothing much better than books, then, except maybe swimming) to various remote rural or even mountain locations? Spotted with eidelweiss and brown, velvety-eyed cows? Hmm, now how did Heidi sneak in there?

But I don't remember a bookmobile coming to our door, or even actually being in one, like some of you lucky people out there. In all our moves, there was always always a library close by, even if only a one-room Carnegie Library built of stone, like this one in Barneveld, NY (photo courtesy of my brother). Pretty darn cute, eh?

Still, I had this image: an old 50's van, probably a modified milk-delivery truck, stuffed with books, me driving, with pigtails and a stack of maps. Careening around a corner, Pippi Longstocking-style, maps flying, books bouncing. Bookmobiling, that was the life for me!

And I find that others in the blogo-schnitzle have similar feelings. Bibliophemera has a great post about bookmobiles, with cool photos, too. There's a following out there, folks!

So, in this Library Review  & Tour Project, I looked forward to visiting, being in and writing about a bookmobile. I presumed there would be one, considering Sonoma County's size and the still rural, even somewhat wild, nature of its hinterlands. But no. Counties to the north and south of us, Mendocino and Marin, have them, but Sonoma County ceased its bookmobile action in 1996. Doubtful that it will return.

However! There is a new bookmobile in town,  The Sonoma County Free Bookmobile, that collects donated books and delivers them at no charge, to rural families, kids and isolated seniors. How cool is that? Check out their page for photos of bookmobiles and even BiblioBurros. And what better life could you give your extra books? (and I know you have extra books!)  The Free Bookmobile will be at the Sonoma County Book Festival next Saturday (Sept 19th) in Downtown Santa Rosa, another fabulous book-related event. So clean up your bookshelves, folks, drop by the Free Bookmobile, then cruise the festival with its wonderful roster of readers, writer-events, poets, fictioneers, booksellers.

And just think--now that you have some extra space on your shelves, you'll have room for all the bookly treasures you're sure to find.

Sonoma County Book Festival

Sonoma County Book Mobile article

Sonoma County Free Bookmobile


  1. Can't wait to hear about the Free BookMobile!

    My mom talks about the bookmobile of her youth with the adoration of a lovestruck teen. Kinda makes you wonder if they were pumping extra oxygen into the air of that van.

  2. hee hee! they do have some sort of mystical, romantic fascination. Romance in the take-me-away, fantasy sense, escapism. The escapism of traveling, the escapism of books in one neat container.


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