The Bookmobile

When my sister and I were growing up, an amazing service was provided to our neighborhood. Every week in the summer time, a large vehicle would arrive at the corner called a Bookmobile. There was a librarian and lots of books for you to check out if you had a library card. Abby and I thought it was quite magical that the library would come to us.

We would board the bus and Bookmobilelook all over for special books that caught our eye. I loved the Bookmobile for several reasons. First, it was a Mother-free zone. She never ventured onto the bus so we knew that we would not have to contend with her. I loved looking at all the books, but the main reason I loved the Bookmobile was because it was air-conditioned. I fell in love with air-conditioning when I was a little girl and to this day think it was just about the greatest invention I ever heard of.

Poster for bookmobile service in Chicago

The Bookmobile lady would not allow us to stay on the bus with her all day so she would encourage us to make our selections and be on our way. I would try to stay on as long as possible, pretending that I needed to look for five more minutes while enjoying the arctic blast and the reprieve from Mother.

I guess this was my version of the way kids used to hang out at newsstands, reading magazines until they were run off by the clerk telling them,

This isn’t a library. Buy something or get out!

But – aha! – in this case, the Bookmobile was a mobile library. So the lady who drove it around was more gentle about encouraging me to make my selections and check them out so she could drive to the Bookmobile’s next stop.

So finally we got off the bus with our treasures and went back to “reality.” I could not wait for the next week to come to get back on the bus and enjoy the quiet, calm and cool.

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