Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Travel Books

From: Reanimation Library

"Tom Corwin clearly recalls the day when, on a whim, he decided to buy and restore a classic bookmobile.
     'The best ideas just happen to you,' says Corwin, a writer and musician whose boyish, intense enthusiasm is highly contagious. 'A friend came to dinner, and showed me the ad. He was hoping to use the bookmobile to extend his home library—into his back yard. When he realized it wouldn’t fit, I had an idea: Get well-known authors behind the wheel of the bookmobile, taking turns on a drive across the country, talking about the books that have touched their lives. What a great way to remind people of our connection to the written word, and how powerful it can be.'
     Corwin, who lives just north of San Francisco, picked up the vehicle in Chicago. Made by Moroney— a family-owned company in Massachusetts, and America’s last hand-builder of bookmobiles— the mobile library had just been retired after 15 years of travel. Its sturdy oak shelves had showcased more than 3,200 books.
     [...] The first bookmobile seems to have appeared in Warrington, England, in 1859. That horse-drawn cart, a 'perambulating library,' lent some 12,000 books during its first year of operation—a century before the sleek vehicle that would visit Arlington, Massachusetts, during my own elementary school years.
     America’s first 'traveling branch library' plied the county roads of Maryland, championed by visionary librarian Mary Titcomb. 'Filled with an attractive collection of books and drawn by two horses,' wrote Titcomb, 'with Mr. Thomas the janitor both holding the reins and dispensing the books, it started on its travels in April 1905.' "— Jeff GreenwaldSmithsonian
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