I received a complimentary copy from the author. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.
Interview with a REAL Bookmobile Librarian from Kentucky
Where did you work and for how long?
I worked at the Fleming County Public Library in Flemingsburg, KY for 22 1/2 years, and I started out working one day a week. This was fine because my husband and I also operated a dairy and tobacco farm and he really didn't want me to consider this job.
The director intended for me to eventually replace the bookmobile librarian who was nearing retirement in a few years and the next year, when I began working two days a week, I went with her on the bookmobile route on one of those days,
Out of those 22 years, how long did you work as a mobile librarian?
I was part-time for 3 years but never the full-time bookmobile librarian because I was asked to take over the cataloging and inter-library loan duties.
Did your library have the horseback librarians during the 30s?
Our county didn't have a public library until the early 1960s so NO, we didn't have horseback librarians. There's a popular picture of a group of Kentucky librarians on horseback and it was a joke among our staff as to which one each of us were.
What was your first experience like as a bookmobile librarian?
The first time that I drove the bookmobile I almost felt like I was driving an Army tank! Most bookmobiles today are mini vans but it was a very large truck-type vehicle. I just remember how happy I was when I safely arrived back at the library and how proud that it looked like it did when I left that morning! I truly enjoyed serving the patrons and they were so appreciative to have books brought to them!
What was the hardest part of being a bookmobile librarian? And what was the easiest?
In our county, the bookmobile also serves five schools during the school year so a day checking out books to several hundred students made for a hard day, because you just don't have books going out, you also have that many coming back in. So, the day didn't end when I left the school yard and this was before our library was automated! The easiest, or should I say, the best part, was definitely seeing those young smiling faces as the children climbed on the bookmobile and picked their books. Some were shy and they immediately picked out a book or two, and then, went back to their room. Others wanted to talk and kill time so that they could get out of class!
I did, however, have individual house stops on other days and those were the people who were so happy for us to serve them. Some of the ladies were eager to talk and share what was happening in their lives and some of the more avid readers often checked out 10 or 12 books to last until the next visit in 2 weeks!
Can you think of a particular story to share with us from your bookmobile days?
I can't immediately think of one specific story but the Bookmobile Summer Reading Program was another highlight for the children who lived in the county. They weren't able to attend the Summer Reading programs held at the library but they were still given small treats, printed handouts with activities, and coupons for admission to Kentucky state parks and places of interest. At the end of the program they were also invited to attend the special SRP wrap-up and many of them were able to come to this special event.
A love of reading exists in people of all ages and bookmobiles are such an important service for people who don't live near a public library. This is one reason why I love this series. Those women who rode their horses to share books with others are such an important part of our Kentucky history and our Kentucky library system!
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