Getting Back into the Community

June 26, 2021

“[During the pandemic], the definition of outreach was put to the test,” Zimmerman said. She detailed the ways in which libraries across the country pivoted in their outreach and service methods: offering contactless deliveries and curbside services, repurposing outreach vans to become delivery vehicles and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, making phone calls to connect with seniors … Continue reading Getting Back into the Community


Call Number Podcast logo and text: School Librarians Adapt to the Pandemic

Call Number Podcast: School Librarians Adapt to the Pandemic

April 20, 2021

First, American Libraries Managing Editor Terra Dankowski speaks with three school library media specialists for Goochland County (Va.) Public Schools—Sarah Smith from Goochland Elementary School, Sue Vaughan from Randolph Elementary School, and Zoe Parrish from Byrd Elementary School—about how they bootstrapped a bookmobile to provide free titles to kids learning remotely. Next, American Libraries Senior … Continue reading Call Number Podcast: School Librarians Adapt to the Pandemic


Valerie Wagley, counselor at Fair Oaks Elementary School in Cobb County, Georgia, reads to kids at a bookmobile stop in summer 2020. Photo: Kelli Wood

The Road to Normal

March 1, 2021

“Would it be crazy if we packed our cars with books and drove them around?” Parrish remembers proposing. They put out word of their plan to give away books, and soon teachers, churches, school libraries, families, and even the local YMCA were donating books for the effort. Goochland County government loaned them a van. And … Continue reading The Road to Normal


Portrait of On My Mind author Lesley Garrett

Bookmobiles for Justice

March 1, 2021

During my time as an organizer apprentice with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, our chapter led a successful campaign in partnership with the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Kentucky Fairness and ACLU of Kentucky to pass a 2018 civil rights ordinance in the city of Paducah that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. … Continue reading Bookmobiles for Justice


ABOS Treasurer Brooke Bahnsen (left) and ABOS Secretary Lori Berezovsky prep swag bags to mail to the first 250 registered attendees of the virtual conference.

ABOS Celebrates 15th Anniversary with Virtual Conference

October 22, 2020

Cathy Zimmerman, ABOS president and bookmobile associate at Scott County (Iowa) Library System, kicked off the event by noting 2020’s many challenges. “I have said many times over the course of this year how immensely proud I am of the way in which outreach professionals have reacted to these difficult times. You have persevered and … Continue reading ABOS Celebrates 15th Anniversary with Virtual Conference


Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services Past-President Susan Parkins and President Cathy Zimmerman

Reimagining the Bookmobile

June 25, 2020

At “Outdoing Outreach in a Post–COVID-19 World,” a June 25 live session at ALA Virtual, two Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) board members discussed how their work has evolved in the face of coronavirus. “We woke up one morning and the entire world had changed,” said Cathy Zimmerman, ABOS president and bookmobile associate … Continue reading Reimagining the Bookmobile


Idress Siyawash’s mobile library

Bikes and Books in Afghanistan

February 25, 2020

Siyawash’s voice cracks as he recounts this scene from a small village in Afghanistan. Siyawash, a student at Jahan University in Kabul, is founder and chief of a small organization called Read Books (in Pashto: Ketab Lwast), a mobile effort to improve youth literacy rates in Afghanistan by providing books and reading instruction to children … Continue reading Bikes and Books in Afghanistan


llustration: Drew Bardana

Countdown to the Vote

November 1, 2019

National Voter Registration Day In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, hundreds of libraries participated in National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). Since 2012, the nonpartisan, unofficial holiday has been held on the fourth Tuesday of September with the aim of extending the franchise to eligible voters. Last year, libraries made up 14% of NVRD’s … Continue reading Countdown to the Vote



By the Numbers: Bookmobiles

March 1, 2018

11 Date in April 2018 that National Bookmobile Day—part of National Library Week—will be celebrated. 2010 Year that National Bookmobile Day was first observed by the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS), Association for Rural and Small Libraries, and American Library Association’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. 1905 Year that the first … Continue reading By the Numbers: Bookmobiles


Bookmobiles on display at the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services conference in Pittsburgh, October 25–27, 2017.

Library Outreach Services: Bridging the Gap

November 3, 2017

ABOS President Ann Plazek opened the conference by reading a proclamation from Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto declaring October 25 as Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services Day. Opening speakers included Mary Frances Cooper, director, and Holly McCullough, assistant director of programs and partnerships, at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. They spoke about the lasting legacy of … Continue reading Library Outreach Services: Bridging the Gap


Pedal Power

September 1, 2017

Haley Tricycles Book Bikes Haley Tricycles has been building book bikes for libraries and literacy organizations since 2008, when the company designed the bike for Gabriel Levinson’s Chicago Book Bike project, arguably the first modern book bike. The Haley Book Bike is based on a display bike format: It has two fold-out side tables with … Continue reading Pedal Power