Bookmobile at West Park Shopping Center
The Bookmobile 1930s

Richland County is fortunate to have nine locations of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library, so that from any corner of the land there is a cultural resource within reach.

Bookmobiles in the 1920s & 30s.

These Branches came into existence only in the last 30 to 40 years however, and before that the work of sharing Library materials was carried out by the Bookmobile.

It started in the 1920s when the Bookmobile made regular stops at Plymouth, Bellville, Lucas, Little Washington, Newville and Shenandoah.

Bookmobiles in the 1940s & 50s.

The Bookmobile was a surrogate Branch location all around Mansfield for decades — in fact they called the trailer facility the Branchmobile. It was a familiar sight in the parking lots of shopping centers around town until the end of the '80s when the traveling books finally had places to become rooted in permanent Branch locations.

The last Bookmobiles 1960s through 1980s.

In recent years, M/RCPL redefined the old Bookmobile idea by establishing a Books to Go service, with a portrait of the Library on the side of the van that made it pretty unmistakable in traffic.

The Library extension van 2008.

Today there is a new outreach van, familiar on county roads and city streets, that carries on the work of extension, making deliveries to the lobbies of Senior living facilities and nursing homes.

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Timothy Brian McKee is a featured columnist on our site every Sunday with a column titled Native SonEvery Tuesday, he taps into his knowledge and collection of historical photos and bring us Then & Now, a brief glance at the way things were.