Memories of the Bookmobile

Bookmobile, circa 1950s

A friend just found this wonderful contemporary postcard last week, promoting the City of Sydney Library Network, an area which includes the public libraries at Customs House (Circular Quay), Glebe, Haymarket, Kings Cross, Newtown, Surry Hills, Ultimo and Waterloo.

The postcard depicts the iconic 1950s Mobile Library, more commonly known as “the Bookmobile”. (There are no copyright details on the image, although it’s #SRC124, City of Sydney Archives).

We had a Bookmobile in the Rockdale Municipal Council area, when I was in primary school in the 1960s. I recall distinctly our beloved teacher-librarian, Mrs Janette McKenny, telling us that there was such a thing – and, for months, I envisaged a colourful, open-to-the-elements Mardi Gras-like float, festooned with feathers, streamers, book posters, balloons and glitter. And loud, zany people selecting books.

I was more than a little deflated the day I actually saw its rather bland, neutral tones rumble past our school sportsfield one Friday afternoon. (I think I was supposed to be fielding. Or something.)

But this card made my friend smile with nostalgia. Ditto for me.