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National Bookmobile Day

National Bookmobile Day has been observed on the Wednesday of National Library Week since 2010. The first bookmobile in the U.S. was the 1905 horse-drawn “Library Wagon” in Washington County, Maryland.

According to the American Library Association there are 33 bookmobiles in Florida today.

We’re not sure when the first bookmobile hit the streets in Palm Beach County (if you know, please share in the comments below, and if we find out, we’ll update this post), but we were inspired by this photo on the Florida Memory website to share these photos from the Palm Beach Post photo archive. Click on any of the images below to view a larger version.


Jerminous Brown, 4, in a Treasure Coast bookmobile in December 1977. (C.J. Walker/The Palm Beach Post)


Mr. and Mrs. Larry Owens and 5-month-old Sabrina in the bookmobile, probably in the 1970s. (Guy Ferrell/The Palm Beach Post)


The Palm Beach County Library Bookmobile in 1993. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)


The interior of the Palm Beach County Library Bookmobile in 1993. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

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Posted in Flashback blog and Our history in photos April 17, 2013 at 11:37 am.

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Delray public library marks its 100th year

The 40 ladies gathered, each with a book under her arm. Henry Flagler had donated $10 to buy more items.

That was the birth of the Delray Beach Library, 100 years ago today on April 11, 1913.

The library association will mark its birthday with a gala money-raising bash and a community day with events that include a dog parade.

The complex will be transformed into a “100-year walk down memory lane” with costumes, period characters, music and entertainment, and food and drink.

The library, a nonprofit corporation, is separate from the city. Though it gets some city money, it raises a lot itself.

It started in 1913 with the “Ladies Improvement Association” meeting. “This is only a beginning and we hope and expect much from it,” the Delray Progress reported.

There were 75 books in the library when it officially opened from 2 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 31, 1914.

In 1938, the non-profit Delray Beach Library Association incorporated to manage library operations and the city council approved its first grant: $500. At the time, the library had 605 items.

After World War II, the library raised $14,000 for its new building on Southeast Fourth Avenue, just south of Atlantic Avenue. It opened in 1950. By then its collection had grown to more than 15,000 items.

A second story was added in 1968, a garden room in 1975, and a 3,100-square-foot auditorium in 1985. By that building’s 50th birthday, in 2000, the library boasted nearly 100,000 items.

But it was just too small for the burgeoning city. So today, a two-story, 48,000-square-foot building stands at 100 W. Atlantic Ave.

Opened in 2006, it cost $7.2 million to build, and $1.2 million to furnish.

It issues some 8,000 new library cards each year and is visited by more than 623,000 people annually.

It holds 184,784 items, and, in this brave new world, only half of them are ink-and-paper books.


The Delray Beach Public Library in 2013 (Photo courtesy of the library)


The old Delray Beach Public Library on Southeast 4th Avenue (Photo courtesy of library)


The young adult department in the new library (Photo courtesy of the Delray Beach Public Library)


Demonstrating the use of the card catalog at the old library (Photo courtesy of the Delray Beach Public Library)

Other photos from the library’s past (provided by the Delray Beach Public Library):

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Posted in Eliot Kleinberg April 11, 2013 at 9:17 am.

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Historical Society of Palm Beach County collection online

The Historical Society of Palm Beach County collection catalog is now available for searching and browsing online. More than 14,000 images and 26,000 names are included in the online catalog — not everything in the whole historical society collection, but it’s a great way to get to begin your local historical research. Try the random images link to see a sampling of what’s there.

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Posted in Flashback blog March 29, 2013 at 9:41 am.

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This week in history: Delray Beach Library founded

On April 11, 1913, the Delray Ladies’ Improvement Association created the town’s first library. The Delray Progress reported on the meeting: “A number of ladies met at the Booster Hall . . . each bringing one or more books as a beginning for the Delray Library. Forty books were brought, besides a few that will be used for reference. They were soon neatly covered, as many hands make light work. This is only a beginning and we hope and expect much from it.” The Ladies’ Improvement Association, later known as the Woman’s Club of Delray Beach, ran the library until 1938, when the Delray Beach Public Library Association was formed, and since 1950, the Delray Beach Public Library has been a partnership between the library association and the City of Delray Beach.

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The Booster Hall was located at the southeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and S.E. 4th Avenue, near the old site of the Delray Beach Public Library. The two-story building behind the hall is the rear of the Cromer building, also known as the Club House. (Palm Beach Post file photo submitted by John E. Miller of Delray Beach)

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The Ladies’ Improvement Association on July 4, 1913. (Courtesy of the Delray Beach Public Library archives)

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This building was the home of the Woman’s Club and the Delray Beach Library. It was also known as the Ladies’ Improvement Association building. (Courtesy of the Delray Beach Historical Society)

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Summer story hour at the Delray Beach Library in 1949. (Palm Beach Post file photo courtesy of Mildred M. George)

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Posted in Flashback blog April 11, 2011 at 6:00 am.

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This week in history: Modern library opens in West Palm Beach

On April 30, 1962, the former home of the West Palm Beach Library opened at the head of Clematis Street, replacing the nearby Memorial Library, built in 1923. The 1962 building was demolished in 2009 to make way for a clear view of the waterfront.

MALL-MET - 45 WPB LIBRARY.BIN

Read more about the history of the West Palm Beach Library here.

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Posted in Flashback blog April 26, 2010 at 6:30 am.

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