Everett Public Library commissions the first bookmobile in Washington in 1924.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 4/01/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5439

In 1924, the Everett Public Library commissions the first bookmobile in Washington, only the second on the West Coast. A 1924 Ford Model T truck chassis is fitted with a fruit vendor-style van body and shelving with a capacity of 1,000 books. The bookmobile is nicknamed Pegasus and visits neighborhoods and schools to bring the books to readers.

The first bookmobile is credited to Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1902. The 1920s saw automotive engineering develop to the point that trucks designed as mobile libraries became dependable and economical. In 1929, the van body was transferred to a Model A chassis and Pegasus served the city's readers for another 20 years.

Librarians were assigned to drive the topheavy vehicle. Retired librarian Muriel Hain recalled in 1994, "Every librarian that ever worked there had gone over in it at least once. Edith Serier went over, Edith Jennings went over, Noel Corbin went over, and Willa Jamison went over several times" (The Seattle Times). In 1950, Hain was assigned to Pegasus, but she had to get a driver's license first. She failed the driving test and so did the aging Pegasus. The vehicle was sold to haul sand and gravel.


Sources:

Diane Brooks, "New Chapter for State's First Bookmobile,"  The Seattle Times, June 23, 1994, p. A-1; "A Maryland Pilgrimage,"  National Geographic Magazine, undated article in "Mobile Services -- Misc. Papers," folder, Seattle Public Library Archives.


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