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Bookmobile History

Aurora Public Library 2023 Bookmobile in front of Central LibraryAs Aurora Public Library welcomes a new outreach vehicle to the fleet, let's take a look back at some of the Bookmobiles that have served the community. The first noted Bookmobile came online in June 1959 thanks to the perseverance of the library board with chairman Martin E. Miller at its helm. Made by Gerstenlager, the purchase price was $13,196.80, which with inflation, would be the equivalent of over $135,000 today! This Bookmobile held nearly 3,000 items and records show it circulated 1,620 items in its first month. While Aurora grew in size, unincorporated Arapahoe County sat just outside its border. The county contracted with local systems, including Aurora, to provide services such as Bookmobile stops to its citizens. When the county eventually created a library district, they housed their first Bookmobile at the Hoffman Library due to its proximity to the populations the district served.

Bookmobiles have long been a staple for the community. When a fire broke out at South Junior High School in 1971, the Bookmobile served the school for five weeks, which was noted as “quite well received." A second vehicle, purchased in the early 70s, expanded the reach of our small system. Eventually, the first bookmobile broke down and was deemed unrepairable. In place of immediate disposal, the library decided to tow the vehicle to North Aurora to act as a temporary location until the Northwest Reading Center opened. A much larger vehicle was purchased in 1977 to serve the city, with a removable library section that would allow for future renovation at a lower cost. Our large-scale Bookmobiles were removed from service in the late eighties, though in July 1990, the Friends of the Aurora Public Library were granted permission to use one as a book outlet.

While we no longer had dedicated Bookmobiles, in the 2010s, the outreach team worked with a smaller van that once couriered material between branches. This repurposed Dodge was reinvented as our “Info2GO” van and spent the remainder of its time in the fleet visiting many locations, including farmers markets, senior living facilities and Stanley Market Place, to name a few.

In February 2023, we welcome a 119 square feet mobile library that we hope will become a new staple in the community. This would not have been possible without the generous donation of Joan M. Schobert, the support from our dedicated staff and the unique history of bookmobiles that have come before it.

View the slideshows below to catch a glimpse of Bookmobile history!

Bookmobile in the Community

Bookmobile News and Numbers

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