Happy National Bookmobile Day!

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According to the National Library Association, National Bookmobile Day is "an annual celebration of the contributions of our nation's bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities." We're on board! To celebrate, here are a few stories about bookmobiles.

Alec Baldwin can celebrate in style: he recently bought his own bookmobile, decommissioned from the Massapequa (NY) Public Library. Don't get too excited, though -- he said he isn't going to be using it as an actual bookmobile.

But a bookmobile can be a pretty awesome repurposed vehicle. Tom Corwin is using a BKM to make a road-trip documentary about books that have touched people's lives. You can follow Tom's adventures on Twitter and Facebook.

Bookmobiles aren't just American institutions. There's at least one in Japan, and they originated in England. In Germany, they're called Autobucherei, and they look just like ours. But the coolest bookmobiles are the living ones. In Kenya, they use a camel! And in Colombia and Ethiopia, they use donkeys. [Image courtesy of Masha Hamilton. Visit her site about her book, The Camel Bookmobile.]

"¢ Who designs bookmobiles, anyway? Meet a bookmobile muralist in this interview:

"¢ Tre Cool, the drummer for Green Day, once toured (pre-Green Day), in a bookmobile. "It was a really bad idea, by the way," he told Rolling Stone. "Kids, if you're listening to this at home, if you're gonna go on tour, don't build your own tour bus."

"¢ Bookmobiles can inspire others artists as well. Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife, wrote an illustrated story called "The Night Bookmobile," which was serialized in the Guardian. (Apparently it's quite difficult to read on the Guardian website, but one fan helpfully reorganized it for easier readability. Thanks, friend!)

"¢ Bookmobiles through the ages...

...and some from today...

(This footage is from the Parade of Bookmobiles at the American Library Association's annual conference.)

"¢ Which state has the most bookmobiles, and how does yours stack up? Find the answer here.

"¢ And finally, bookmobiles aren't just bringing books anymore. A new service in Texas is offering curb-side internet service with their roving bookmobile.

Miss Kathleen is a children's librarian who moonlights as one of our researchers. Next week, she'll be launching a column on library happenings. If you've got something cool going on at your library, leave her a comment with a tip, or email atthelibraries@gmail.com.

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April 14, 2010 - 1:30pm
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