Mary Lemist Titcomb was a pioneering librarian at the turn of the 20th century, when public libraries were first appearing in America. Believing strongly in the power of books, especially for children in far-flung places, she invented America’s first Bookmobile: a horse-drawn, specially constructed book-wagon to bring books to remote farms in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her triumphs over prejudice and disaster resulted in nationwide bookmobile programs that continue to affect the lives of millions globally.
Visit the digital archive of the Washington County Free Library for more photos, information and resources. Or visit the Digital Public Library of America’s fascinating exhibit on the history of libraries.
*Correction–in this episode Glenn stated that Titcomb was only four feet tall. She misspoke, Titcomb was actually five feet tall.
All photos below courtesy of the Washington County Free Library unless otherwise indicated
Sharlee Mullins Glenn is an award-winning poet, essayist, and children’s book author. She was a Hinckley Scholar at Brigham Young University, holds an MA in Humanities, and taught college for a number of years before giving up academia for the writing life. Glenn presents at conferences and workshops across the country and her work has appeared in Women’s Studies, Irreantum, The Southern Literary Journal, Segullah, and BYU Studies. She has also published a novel and a number of picture books for children. She is the founder and president of Mormon Women for Ethical Government. Her book Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America’s First Bookmobile, will be available in April 2018.
Music featured in this episode included:
“Goodbye, Liza Jane” by Marc Nelson
“Granite Creek” by Andy Reiner and Jon Sousa
“Arirang” by Andy Reiner and Jon Sousa
“My New Friend” by Jeff Cuno
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