Yesterday was National Bookmobile Day (Wednesday, April 16, 2014) and it is a day to celebrate our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated library professionals who provide this valuable and essential service to their communities every day. In Butler County we also honor our bookmobile patrons.
We had a program about National Bookmobile Day with a very special guest. Olivia Warren, one of our elders, was the very first librarian and the very first bookmobile driver in Butler County! Mrs. Warren was the first Butler County librarian and the only librarian from 1954 to 1957. She shared lots of stories from her days driving the bookmobile. “There were hard roads back then,” she said! She was a little anxious about taking the job at first because she was unfamiliar with the county. She soon learned all about the little communities and towns in our county through driving the bookmobile.
Because at this time Butler County did not have library building the bookmobile was THE library in our county. In order to know where to go with the bookmobile Mrs. Warren would drive out to all the little country stores and ask when she could come. She also mentioned that she would often take breaks at these stores and play cards!
She said, “The men were really nice to me … probably because I was the wife of the [high school] basketball coach.” Anytime she got the bookmobile in a ditch on any of those winding country roads she would find a local Good Samaritan and they would help.
Tammy Suggs, Butler County Librarian, was also with us to share about bookmobile day. She told us that Kentucky leads the nation in the use of bookmobiles. There are currently 98 bookmobiles in Kentucky and today’s bookmobiles carry about 2,000 books! Everyone was very impressed by this. Our county’s bookmobile travels 4 days a week to homes and communities and even some of our local private schools that do not have libraries. Tammy showed us all kinds of pictures of bookmobiles from the past and from all over the world. She shared that in Pakistan they use camels and in some Latin-American countries they use “biblioburros” – book donkeys!
Thank you Tammy Suggs for your presentation today with our elders, thank you Mrs. Olivia Warren for sharing your stories about the early days of the bookmobile in Butler County, and a big thank you to Sharon Neighbors our current bookmobile librarian for your work throughout our county!