By Ann Minnett
Janice McCaffrey’s recent post I Love Libraries inspired me to write about my favorite childhood library. The Bookmobile. In the 1950’s, Denver Public Libraries provided olive green, oversized vans lined with books to elementary schools in neighborhoods without branch libraries.
The Bookmobile came to my elementary school every other Friday, parked in the forbidden teacher parking lot, and opened for business one class at a time. Any student with a DPL card could check out up to three books per visit, return them two weeks later, and check out more. I never missed my turn.
I was a hungry reader of Nancy Drew mysteries and Edna Ferber sagas and so many others that I honestly can’t remember now. My iPad holds my personal library now, but I miss the heft of a well-thumbed book, the sometimes grimy pages, and the jacketless books that looked covered in glossy paint.
Sure, those volumes were available at the library, but every other Friday when I climbed the metal steps into the close and comfy world of our Bookmobile, I was transformed. The slightly tilted vehicle swayed when more than a few kids walked the aisles—sometimes I had to grasp a shelf for balance. Most of all, a world of fiction invited me in. I always found more than three books I wanted to read. (Some research today shows we make decisions easier when we have fewer choices.) I’d pare my stack down to three and look forward to the Bookmobile’s next visit.