For Parents

Ride on the Bookmobile with Emilie and Bruce


04/10/2019 | Favorite Subjects

Have you seen one of our IndyPL Bookmobiles driving around Indianapolis? We have two that visit neighborhoods and schools all over the city delivering books to people who don't have a library branch nearby. Kids love trucks, books and cozy little spaces - our Bookmobiles are all three!


Watch this video to meet one of our bookmobile teams, Miss Emilie and Mr. Bruce. Our bookmobiles are filled with both great books and great people! If you would like to take your child to see what a bookmobile is like, bring your library card and come to one of our bookmobile stops this month or next month.

A librarian in Maryland in the early 1900s is credited with coming up with the idea of the first bookmobile. That first one was a horse-drawn wagon. No one had ever seen one of those before! Soon book wagons were appearing in other parts of the country, and by 1922, the book wagon idea was very popular. The bookmobile was born!

  • Bookmobiles: Then and Now - A Fascinating timeline of the evolution of bookmobiles, including the features, technology, and vehicles responsible for bringing library services to the public. Note: green entries on the timeline are bookmobile history in general. Purple entries in the timeline are IndyPL Bookmobile history.
  • 50 Vintage Photos of Libraries on Wheels
  • Indianapolis Public Library Digital Collections: Bookmobiles

We've picked our favorite photos from our Digital Collection for the gallery below. It's fun to see how our Bookmobiles have changed over the years.


To learn even more about bookmobiles check out one of the books below. Each one tells the story of a bookmobile. Some of them are from a different part of the world where it makes sense to deliver books by boat, burro or camel!

Bookmobiles: On the Road for Reading All Over the World

Book lovers and librarians have loaded up books and taken them on the road for decades. What they use to transport the books depends on where the books need delivered. Bookmobiles can be trucks, boats, bikes, or pack animals! Which animal is chosen depends on where in the world the books are being delivered. Horses, burros and camels are all excellent at book transportation! Here are some of our favorite stories about how mobile libraries get books to people who don't have a library building nearby. #indyplkids

The Book Boat's in

Cotten, Cynthia

On a book boat on the Erie Canal in the 1800s, Jessie spots a used copy of The Swiss Family Robinson, then works very hard all week to earn the money he needs to buy it. Includes historical note.

Waiting for the BiblioBurro

Brown, Monica

When a man brings to a remote village two burros, Alfa and Beto, loaded with books the children can borrow, Ana's excitement leads her to write a book of her own as she waits for the BibliBurro to return. Includes glossary of Spanish terms and a note on the true story of Columbia's BiblioBurro and mobile libraries in other countries.

Library on Wheels

Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's First Bookmobile

Glenn, Sharlee Mullins

Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks for kids from home right to your device. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or text a librarian at 317 333-6877.

~ IndyPL_CarrieW