The Milk Wagon Library

NutleyNJ

The war-time rationing of gas and rubber meant that libraries across the country had to find new ways to bring books to patrons. In Nutley, New Jersey, the solution wound up being a former milk wagon. The driver already knew everyone in town and was willing to work for $5 a trip. After a little painting and remodeling, the wagon was able to bring 300 books to various readers in the summer of 1943. A boy rang a town crier-style bell rung to alert people that the rolling library was coming. The arrival of the book wagon led to an informal block party in many neighborhoods, and Teddy the Library Horse was a particular hit with children. On one side of the wagon the librarians posted “Books are not rationed”; on the other side they wrote “The Axis can’t keep us from reading.”

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