On National Bookmobile Day, 12 Amazing Bookmobiles That Show the Power of Books and Reading

The American Library Association is known for a lot of things: deciding book award winners, putting together school library programs, and raising awareness about the importance of Banned Books Week, to name a few. And then there's National Bookmobile Day. Yes, that's really a thing, and I am so, so happy it is.

The ALA does a lot more than decide what gets read in schools, and who wins what prize. They take on so many other causes that some are bound to get lost in the shuffle. Luckily more and more attention is being given to National Bookmobile Day. The ALA designates one day in April each year to raise money and awareness for some seriously important people and organizations who bring books to kids who might not have them otherwise. A childhood without books isn't something I'd wish on anyone. This year, April 15 is that day.

Bookmobiles have gained popularity in recent years, but have been around since the early 1900s, and maybe even before that. Today, there are not only mobile libraries but boats, bikes, even something known as the Biblio Burro, all dedicated to bringing books to children. These programs do amazing work for families who might not have the financial resources necessary to purchase books. 

In celebration of National Bookmobile Day, here are some of the world's best mobile libraries. From the United States to China and Europe, who wouldn't be excited to see one of these coming down the street?

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Hong Kong Public Library Bookmobile

Anyone else think this looks like the Mystery Van from Scooby Doo? The bright colors certainly show that it’s ready for just as many adventures!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Bookmobile Trailer: Beaufort, North Carolina

Bright red, set up in the shell of what was once a trolley, the Beaufort Bookmobile trailer is a great place to browse on a sunny day. This one is a great community center, much like libraries themselves!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Välkky Library Bus: Helsinki, Finland

From the brightly colored alphabet on the side, to the inviting seats, to the projector, this bookmobile is literally ready to roll with anything you could need from the library!

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Bookmobile: Surabaya, Indonesia

This one from Indonesia takes more of an ice cream truck approach rather than the walk-in bookmobiles of other countries. What you see is what you get, but that doesn’t mean there’s any less to choose from!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Bookmobile: Boxborough, Massachusetts

A library on wheels that looks like a cross between a giant school bus and a fire truck? Who wouldn’t get excited about reading after seeing something like that roll down the street?

Image: Liz West/Flickr

Epos Book Boat: Norway

Norway went way past bookmobiles and moved right on to a book boatThe Epos was created in 1963 to serve as a mobile, floating library, and carries 6,000 books on board, which it brings to 150 communities!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Utah State Library Bookmobile: Salt Lake City, Utah

A beautiful shot of a bookmobile in action: driven to read! Could there be a more perfect backdrop for this one? I think not.

Image: Utah State Library/Flickr

Skokie Public Library Bookmobile: Skokie, Illinois

It’s not just you — this really does look like the inside of a “real” library or bookstore. The Skokie, Illinois bookmobile is that impressive!

Image: Skokie Public Library/Flickr

Bookmobile: Osaka, Japan

This one looks like you could pack up and live inside it if the need arose. I can’t say I would be opposed to travelling around in one of these.

Image: Cotaro70s/Flickr

Bookmobile: Pernambuco, Brazil

This bookmobile with its bright exterior and homey awning looks right at home in a place as sunny and warm and Brazil. Small enough to drive around, big enough for multiple people to benefit from: the perfect combination for a bookmobile.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Bicicloteca de Robson: Mendonça, Portugal

A one man book-cycle — now that’s dedication. Imagine the look on children’s faces when he comes riding by!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Fubon Mobile Library: Taipei, Taiwan

Saved what is possibly the best for last: a mobile library with a TV attached to its side, painted to look like a cat. It doesn’t get better than that.

Image: Wikimedia Commons