The branchmobile of Mansfield, OH, circa 1980. Courtesy, the Sherman Room Collection, Mansfield/Richland County Public Library.
In the 60’s and 70’s it became increasingly common to park book trailers at certain locations for days at a time, turning the bookmobile into a portable library branch, or “branchmobile.” This was due to Gerstenslager and other companies making large trailers specifically for the purpose of hauling library books. The energy crisis of the 1970s also compelled libraries to come up with ways of using less gas. The branchmobile of the Mansfield, Ohio Public Library began serving outlying areas in the late 50s and was discontinued in 1989. An 80s expansion of the library branch system largely made the unit obsolete.