Holy bookmobiles, Batman!

Bookmobile with Children. Photograph. South Carolina Public Library History, 1930-1945. http://www.statelibrary.sc.gov/south-carolina-public-library-history-1930-1945

At my volunteer gig, I found myself knee deep in old photographs of South Carolina bookmobiles.  My goal was to arrange this collection into some semblance of order.

I took a momentary pause from writing up the processing plan to get my hands dirty.  Literally.  With my white gloves, I went about arranging the collection.  First, I went about arranging the collection by county.  After all, 99.99% of the bookmobiles had the county name plastered on the side.  This wasn’t too difficult at first.  But, the third box of photographs, my tiny cubicle was covered in photographs.  The sizes of the photographs varied from 3×3 to 8×10.

I didn’t realize how much detective work was involved in figuring out what bookmobiles belong to what county.  Sometimes the name was obscured by the angle the photographer shot the picture, a child, a tree, a host of other obstructions.  For example, I had a photograph of a 1950s bookmobile with it’s flaps up parked in front of a non-nondescript brick building. There were 5 children browsing the shelves.  One boy in particular caught my eye.  He was probably about 6 or 7 years old.  And, he wore a plaid jacket with a hood.  A flicker of recognition.  I’ve seen that jacket, I thought.  Scrounging through all the photos, I finally found other pictures featuring this same boy.  As luck would have it, the other photographs had a caption citing the county. Score!  Over the course of several hours, I pieced together the little stories these photographs weaved.  Stories of children in rural and urban areas having access to books.

As one caption stated, Inspiring a lifetime of readers.

So true. So very true.


About Ashley S

I'm an archivist!
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