Williamsport, Pa. – On July 10, 1939, Miss Frances Kilburn began driving the first Bookmobile on rural Lycoming County roads to bring library service to the people. Since that time, a variety of vehicles have continued to travel throughout the county bringing books, music, movies and more to the people in rural areas, schools, and care facilities.

Wednesday, April 7 is National Library Outreach Day, a celebration of the more than 930 bookmobiles and dedicated bookmobile staff that provide vital library services to their communities. The occasion is an opportunity for Americans to express their support for these important mobile institutions.

For over 100 years, bookmobiles have delivered information, technology, and resources for lifelong learning to Americans from all walks of life.

According to the most recent report from the Institute of Museum and National Library Services, less than six percent of libraries have Bookmobile services, with only 22 Bookmobiles in Pennsylvania. The James V. Brown Library operates two of those with the Bookmobile and Storymobile, an early childhood vehicle that visits local childcare facilities.

miss pam storymobile

Miss Pam, a member of the James V. Brown Library Storymobile staff

Bookmobiles are a cost-effective means of providing library services to large geographic areas. Bookmobiles, like libraries, continue to meet the needs of their communities by offering free access to the latest technology and materials to users of all ages.

national library outreach day 2021

“The library’s outreach mission is to go where the people are, to establish deep connections with the people we serve, to bring life-changing stories and knowledge of the outside world to those with mobility and transportation issues, to foster the love of reading, and bring opportunities for lifelong learning to rural citizens and the people that need us the most,” said Barbara S. McGary, Executive Director of the Brown Library.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.