Beacon Book of the Summer

Summer 2010

Nancy Runs the Bookmobile
by Enid Johnson

Reviewed by Katrina Lybbert

(Recommended for ages 12 & up)


Nancy Runs the Bookmobile by Enid Johnson is an out of print book that was published in 1956.  Nancy has graduated from college with a teacher's certificate, yet is feeling unsure about actually getting a job as a teacher.   She is at an interview for a teaching job, when she overhears a discussion about the need for someone to run a bookmobile.  For some reason, she immediately knows that that is the job she must have.  Even though she has no degree in library science, they agree to hire her temporarily, till a real librarian can be found.  Nancy has many adventures as she drives over country roads to take books to schools in her area.  However, through a lack of experience she makes some mistakes.  She decides she must go back to school and get a library science degree.  As the cover of this book suggests, there is romance in the book.  She does have a conflict in choosing between two men, one from her hometown, and one from the university.

My thoughts:

I never expected that a book I found on a grocery store book exchange shelf would be a treasure.  At first I thought it would be a just for fun book.  I have fond memories of a bookmobile from my childhood, and love anything to do with books, so that is why I picked it up in the first place.  I was amazed to discover quotes from literature, poems, and ideas and thoughts that made me think.  There were many different characters in the book that showed examples of human nature, examples that we can learn from.  I love that they performed Handel's Messiah at Christmas time.  I do that, too!  There was a quote in the book from Samuel Johnson - a person I first heard about in Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour.  

"Samuel Johnson, that wise old man who lived in England in the eighteenth century, once said there are two kinds of knowledge - one that we have in our minds, and the other that we obtain from sources that we know of.  Mark those words, 'that we know of, ' " Mrs. Archer said.  "For of course, it does not matter how much knowledge is available if we don't know where to find it.  That is why I have so wanted to get the Bookmobile established in Blake County, so that adults, as well as children, who live far from public libraries can have easy access to books."

I would say this book would really only appeal to girls, because of the romance aspect.  The romance was very clean and chaste.  
There was so much more in the book than romance, however.

This may not be a book that can be easily found, and I have really only reviewed it as an example of how treasures can be found at the most unexpected places.  You can't really judge a book by its cover.  This summer as you visit libraries or maybe even a bookmobile, try something new.  You may find a treasure, too.    


Learn some fun history about bookmobiles:


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