The Rodman Public Library Bookmobile will make 19 weekly regular stops throughout the summer as it marks 85 years of mobile library service in Alliance.
Those stops include the Alliance Farmers’ Market at the northeast corner of State Street and Union Avenue from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on most Saturdays between June 24 and August 19.
It will also offer Storytime at 6:30 p.m. during First Friday events in downtown Alliance, and will make a special visit to the Historic Main Street Art and Music Festival on July 15.
The 34-foot library on wheels can also be seen during the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival parade on August 12 and the Martin Luther King Jr. parade on August 26.
For a complete schedule brochure, visit the Bookmobile, or the circulation desk at either the Main Library or Branch Library.
Howard B. Sohn was director of Alliance’s Carnegie Library when he had the idea to offer a mobile service while making a family trip in a house trailer to the American Library Association Conference in New York City in 1937.
On January 24, 1938, the first mobile branch – a 16-foot house trailer with an interior width of 6 feet, 3 inches that carried approximately 1,000 books – made its first ever stop at the corner of Union Avenue and Ely Street. Lewis Waldman was the chauffer, driving a local delivery truck that was hired to pull the wagon. Miss Idalian Gamble was the librarian in charge of the books.
In 1949, the trailer branch was replaced with the traveling branch, a completely self-contained vehicle that stocked more than 2,000 volumes. And in the 1960s and 1970s, two Bookmobiles were in operation at the same time.
The current Bookmobile went into service in 2012. It is 34 feet long, stands 11 feet, 6 inches high and is handicapped accessible. It has the capacity to hold 2,800 to 4,000 items.
According to 2020 statistics, it is among only 679 in operation across the country.
For more information about Bookmobile services, call 330-821-2665, ext. 108.