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Bookmobile History

Library service first began in Clearfield County on Sept. 30, 1940 when the bookmobile made its first trip and distributed 172 books. The idea for a bookmobile that would put literary excellence at the fingertips of everyone in the county began as a joint effort of the Clearfield County Schoolmen's Assoc., the Pomona Grange, the County Commissioners and the Shaw Library Board. The first bookmobile was a one-half ton panel truck picture. By the end of its first year it had traveled 2,407 miles, covering most of the county. WW II gas and tire rationing curtailed some of its routes but attempts were still made to cover the entire county and visits were made at six-week intervals. That first bookmobile met with misfortune when it was involved in an accident in Feb. 1946 on icy roads in the Goshen-Shawville area. One year later a new half-ton replacement vehicle was purchased. The years from 1940 to 1965 the bookmobile primarily provided service to school students. Bookmobile services were used by 117 county schools(list and pictures of schools served), and county stores and gas stations doubled as bookmobile stops. The need for a new bookmobile became apparent and it was decided to replace the 1946 truck with a 1955 three-quarter ton truck.picture

The first of the custon-built walk-in bookmobiles was purchased in April of 1965 through a state allotment. Through use of this bookmobile, service was expanded to include use by the entire family rather than just the school-age child.picture

In 1967 the second of these bookmobiles was purchased. This vehicle, and the one that preceded it, each carried 3,000 volumes. Also in 1967 moves were made by the county commissioners and the Shaw Library Board to establish a separate county library board. This was formed in 1968 and included seven members and has functioned separately from the Shaw Library since that time. In Jan. 1974 county library headquarters were moved from Shaw Library to Curwensville. In 1980, the 1965 bookmobile was replaced with another large walk-in vehicle, received from the state library. This bookmobile was a 1976 GMC Medi Coach. If an effort to keep the bookmobile running until a replacement could be purchased this bookmobile was fixed up and painted by a local bus company.picture

The current bookmobile is a 1991 Thomas Built. Cost $72,000 picture. The purchase of this bookmobile was made possible through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Library and the Clearfield County Commissioners. In addition to the grant money a lot of hard work was put into a grassroots fund raising effort by the County Library Board, library staff, and patrons. Money was raised by recycling, bake sales, hoagie sales, tag days, and the list goes on. The bookmobile is funded through county and state monies and private donations. Each location for the bookmobile was initially sponsored by one or more service clubs in the respective areas and included women's clubs, granges, PTA, Lions clubs and local businesses. The bookmobile stops at 27 different locations each month, 21 community stops, five nursing homes and a mental health facility. The current bookmobile makes it stops every four weeks. Carrying 3,500 - 4,000 volumes. The bookmoble carries best sellers, paperbacks, magazines, large print books, and reference material. The collection includes books for all ages. Inter-library loan service is available. The bookmobile carries a computer catalog and has recently added a new PC in order to provide a reference material on cd. The computer and a base collection of cd's was made possible by a State Library Grant.

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