Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

July 19, 2005 > Here today, there tomorrow: The bookmobile

Here today, there tomorrow: The bookmobile

by Nitasha Sharma

In April 1905, Mary Titcomb, a librarian in Hagerstown, Md, was struck by an inspiration. She equipped a horse-drawn wagon with bookshelves stocked with books from the Hagerstown library. Her dream was to bring the joys of reading to those unable to make the often-difficult trip to the local library. Titcomb's efforts made history; her horse drawn book wagon was the first known bookmobile in the history of the United States, if not the world.

A century later, bookmobiles serve most counties across the nation. The first Alameda County bookmobile was put into service in 1948. Prior to that time, libraries would deposit collections of books at local stores to bring reading materials closer to the community. Thanks to efforts by dedicated book lovers like Mary Titcomb, bookmobiles are now an everyday convenience.

The Alameda County bookmobile is able to shuttle over 3000 items to and from various locations, providing books, magazines, CDs, videos and other materials for adults and children. Items can be checked out for two weeks, and returned either to the bookmobile or any Alameda County library branch. A library card is free of charge.

Summer events include the Search for Dragon Fire reading program for children and teens where prizes and free books can be earned.

The Alameda County bookmobile hosts several community events as well. On July 27, from 3 to 3:45 p.m., "The Bubble Lady" will perform mind bending bubble tricks, and on Aug. 10 from 3 to 3:45 p.m. a puppet show will entertain the crowds. Both events will be held at the Warm Springs Community Center, at 47300 Fernald St., Fremont. For more information and a schedule of stops call (510) 745-1477 or visit

In Santa Clara County the bookmobile operates on similar policies. Items are checked out for two weeks and are returnable to either the bookmobile or any Santa Clara County library branch. On Wednesdays July 20 and Aug. 3, 17, 31, the Milpitas bookmobile stops at Pioneer Park, 60 Wilson Way from 2 to 2:20 p.m. For more information call (408) 293-2326 x3060 or visit

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