In Praise of the Bookmobile

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.

Happy reading!

Ann Minnett MWW photo Ann

Two Thoughts on July 4th

Ann Minnett MWW photoBy Ann Minnett

I have two thoughts on July 4th.

One of the best memories of my childhood occurred every year on the Fourth of July. The University of Denver set off spectacular fireworks that could be seen for miles. We did not park the car along the old Valley Highway or in the University Hills Shopping Center parking lot to view the show. My family climbed onto the roof of our post-war bungalow and stretched out on the still warm shingles in the cool evening to watch the fireworks shoot over our heads.

My husband returns from a 10-day raft trip in Idaho this July 4th. I’m writing this during the six days in which we have no phone or internet contact. Good grief! My daughter spent a year in Afghanistan, and thanks to satellite phones, we chatted every few days. I’ve spent most of my life without cell phones, Google or Twitter, so radio silence with my husband seems oddly peaceful before the storm.

I look forward to The Fourth. He’ll have a week’s adventures to share, and so will I. He doesn’t know: Old friends from Dallas showed up in town after four years; I dressed and arrived at a neighborhood party that wasn’t; I figured out the sprinkling system and he didn’t have to worry (because I know he has); his absence allowed me long uninterrupted hours for launching my second novel; and absence really does make the heart grow fonder.