Dec. 7, 1941, is a date ingrained in the minds of most Americans, marking the attack on Pearl Harbor and the inexorable entrance of the United States into World War II.
At the time, Yakima (WA) was home to just more than 27,000 residents, and only a few weeks earlier, on Oct. 24, 1941, the Yakima Public Library had made its own, much more pleasant sort of history — by debuting the city’s first bookmobile.
Officially known as the A.E. Larson Traveling Branch Service, the Bookmobile was funded through donations and had taken two years of careful planning and negotiation to bring to fruition. The new service was met with eager patronage in each of the neighborhoods and schools it visited, and staff enjoyed getting to interact with the public in a “personal and neighborly way.”
For head librarian Helen Remsberg, the only downside to the service was that because so many children frequented the Bookmobile, staff were often hard-pressed to provide one-on-one attention. But this, she conceded in one of her library reports, was a lovely problem to have.