Fairfield City Open Libraries: Heritage Blog

Library & Information Week – 19-25 th May 2014

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Celebrate Library and Information Week !

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Library and Information Week is a week long celebration of library and information professionals across Australia and provides the community with the opportunity to:

  •  find out about the wide range of services which local public and school libraries offer;
  •  recognise the vital role which libraries and information services play for research and education;
  •  recognise the contribution of specialist libraries for the work outcomes in corporations, government departments, hospitals and     other institutions;
  • debate our information future and government approaches to it;
  • emphasise the significance of libraries in the maintenance of our history and culture at community and national levels;
  • recognise the importance of library and information services as providers of services for people who may otherwise be disadvantaged by their lack of access to information and services;
  • consider the role which libraries play in our local community, work and personal life.

To find out what’s happening at Fairfield City Library during Library and Information Week, go to http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/default.asp?iNavCatId=1&iSubCatId=12

Fairfield City Library Mobile Services

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                                                     The Panel Van Service to the housebound readers, 1960’s and the Mobile Library at Mt Pritchard Public School , 1962 or 1950’s?

Begun in England in the early 19th century,  “itinerating libraries” are rotating collections of  books loans by a central agency to an organisation  of individuals. They were especially popular in  rural or sparsely populated regions but were also  used in urban settings.

The concept of the itinerating library can be trace  to Thomas Bray, who in the 17th Century  established lending libraries packed in boxes for  the public benefit of English deaneries and foreign  plantations. In 1817, a Scottish ironmonger named Samuel Brown began to deposit libraries of 50 volumes in Sottish villages and towns.

In Australia, itinerating libraries circulated from Adelaide and Melbourne beginning in 1859.

In the early 1900’s, Mary Lemist Titcomb, librarian of Washington County Library, Hagerstown, Merryland, designed the first book wagon to be used in the United States and drove it to all corners of the country. Her example was widely emulated and soon evolved into the motorized bookmobile.

From Scotland to Australia to the United States, the iterating library constituted an important phase in the library history of the Western world as it extended the positive influence of the public library to the people.

Source : Passet, Joanne E. “Reaching the rural reader: travelling libraries in America, 1895-1920, ” Libraries & Culture, 26 (Winter 1991): 100-118.

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