An early bookmobile in the United States was created in 1904 by the People’s Free Library of Chester County, South Carolina, which served rural areas with a mule-drawn wagon carrying wooden boxes of books.
Another early American bookmobile was developed by Mary Lemist Titcomb (1857–1932). As a librarian at the Washington County, Maryland Free Library, Titcomb was concerned that the library was not reaching all the people it could. The annual report for 1902 lists “23 branches”, i.e., collections of 50 books in a case placed in stores and post offices around the county. Realizing this still failed to reach all of the county’s rural residents, in 1905 the Washington County Free Library provided one of the first American book wagons to residents by taking the books directly to their homes in remote parts of the county.
Sarah Byrd Askew, a pioneering public librarian, was also an early developer of the bookmobile, driving her Ford Model T outfitted with a book collection to rural areas in New Jersey, beginning in 1920.