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Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America’s First Bookmobile by Sharlee Glenn

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Sure, this is a kid’s book, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot from it, despite my more than seven decades of living! The illustrations make it suitable for preschoolers and fascinating for adults, and the text is written so that it can be read by bright upper-elementary students but is not too basic for older students. The first American bookmobile was launched in Appalachia – Washington County, Maryland, to be exact, by America’s second county-wide-library system. This is the inspiring story of Mary Lemist Titcomb (1852-1932) who launched that very first bookmobile. Joshua Thomas, the janitor at the main library in Hagerstown, drove the horse-drawn bookmobile on its first trip in April of 1905. In the 1910 census, Thomas listed his occupation as “Book Missionary.” When the horse-drawn bookmobile was destroyed by a train at a railroad crossing, it was replaced in 1912 by a motorized bookmobile, and bookmobiles still serve rural Washington County. The author, Sharlee Glenn, grew up in a rural Utah community served by a bookmobile and still lives in Utah. When she learned that Mary Lemist Titcomb was buried in an unmarked family plot in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts, Glenn helped raise funds to erect a grave marker for her.

New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2018. 52 pages, replete with photos, Notes, and a Select Bibliography.  An oversized hardback in dust jacket