As a child, the public library introduced me to the world of possibilities. As an adult, my career obligations sent me to many new towns, new countries. No matter where I was, stepping into the library was, for me, coming home.
Whatever their size, wherever their location, libraries are truly mystical, magical places. Over the years, librarians have found a way to make books available to the public. At the start of the 20th century, for example, Washington County Maryland launched what’s believed to be the first bookmobile using a horse-drawn carriage:
While urban areas transitioned from wagons to gasoline-fueled vehicles, people living in isolated rural communities in the Appalachian Mountains were served by the Pack Horse Library Project:
Meanwhile, county libraries in many states incorporated book wagons of their own:
Many early libraries depended on the generosity of philanthropists such as the industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Here’s one reputed to be the earliest Carnegie Library in Wisconsin:
This quote by the gifted Ray Bradbury sums it up perfectly: