Urban Archaeology
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email
Monday, July 26, 2010

Books--On the Road

Books--On the Road

Another round of historic photographs from the State Archives, this time showing Hawaii’s old bookmobiles, which brought the public library to people in rural areas who couldn’t make it to a main branch.

According to a history of the Friends of the Library written by Albertine Loomis, the first bookmobile in the state hit the road on Maui in 1926—a Ford roadster, complete with rumble seat. The bookmobile got upgraded in 1932 with a half-ton Ford delivery van with shelves and side panels that lifted up to make book-filled counters. By 1938, there was a fleet of bookmobiles delivering books throughout the state.

This photo was taken circa 1949.


This photo was taken circa 1955.


Today, Hawaii has only one full-service bookmobile in service—an 18-year-old van on Maui that brings books to Haiku, Makawao, Kahului and Wailuku, as well as to senior centers and the Maui Community Correctional Center. “There have been so many budget cuts, but we fought long and hard to keep our bookmobile running,” says Wailuku Public Library branch manager Susan Werner. “We don’t travel as far as we used to [The Maui Bookmobile used to drive all the way to Hana.], and we’re down to two days a weeks, but we’re still going.”

All images courtesy the Hawaii State Archives.

Posted on Monday, July 26, 2010 in Permalink

Have Feedback? Suggestions? Email us!

About This Blog

Senior Writer Michael Keany has worked at HONOLULU Magazine since 2004, covering everything from architecture to entertainment. He’s a graduate of UH’s School of Journalism and lives in McCully. He blogs about Hawaii architecture, history and urban planning.

Email Mike

Edit Module