History of Kern County Bookmobiles
In 1915, County Librarian Julia Babcock took books to the oilfields in a Model T that had book shelves built onto the sides of the car. In the 1940s, Kern County was only the 3rd county in the state to have a Bookmobile, a custom-made pickup truck. Due to a World War II economy measure in 1942, the Bookmobile was stored in a garage and was unusable. Librarians soon learned that the vehicle was a necessity, because librarians were scarce and teachers found it difficult to make it to Headquarters. The Board of Supervisors voted to restore Bookmobile service. Even during the aftermath of the 1952 earthquake, the Bookmobile was open immediately the following day. In 1978, Proposition 13 passed and forced the closing of many rural branches. Two van-sized Bookmobiles headquartered in Taft and Lake Isabella were used to address areas without services. In 2011, these two Bookmobiles were replaces with 2 new “green vehicles” funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) and some county funding. These new vehicles contain public access computers, wheelchair accessibility, and have stops around Kern County.
For more information, read the eBook Kern County Library, A Century of Progress.