books · libraries

This Little Girl is the Hero Bookmobiles Need

Photo courtesy of Orange County Archives, “Orange County Public Library Bookmobile,” ca. 1965, via Wikimedia.

I was lucky. Growing up, two local libraries that were just a short drive away. But not all kids have access to that many books.

In recent years, the town of Wellington in Carbon County, Utah has had a tight budget. Coal revenues have been falling, so the county commission has had to scramble to find enough money to continue operating local government services. In order to balance finances, the county commission voted to cut funding for the bookmobile and other programs. If this budget was implemented, the people of Wellington would have had their chances to find and read new books drastically cut.

This horrified one local book lover, 10-year-old October Hamilton, who leapt into action.

“We don’t have a library,” October told KSL reporters. “And the bookmobile is the only book source we have.”  For her, seeing the bookmobile come to town on Wednesdays was “practically like Christmas.”

October began a petition to save the bookmobile. By canvasing the town and surrounding areas, she gathered nearly 1,000 signatures in support. Considering the town of Wellington itself only has a population of around 1,600, this was no small feat. (Though the bookmobile ultimately serves nearly 20,000 people in total.)

October then presented her petition at a county commission meeting. “I just wanted to tell you guys that the Bookmobile is something that we need,” she said.

The commission members were impressed by how committed people were to saving access to books and ultimately voted to reinstate reduced funding for the bookmobile.

“What she[October] has done in the community with her petition has probably done more to raise attention for literacy than anything any local politician could have done,” said Carbon County Commission chair Jake Mellor.

Seeing October’s success is deeply satisfying. It means that at least on a local level, people’s engagement does make a difference. Today I am raising my coffee cup in October’s honor.

Congratulations, October. You were exactly the person the bookmobile of Wellington needed.


45 thoughts on “This Little Girl is the Hero Bookmobiles Need

  1. I loved this….brought back great memories. At the grade school I was at, the Chicago public library brought books that were in a storage closet in the gymnasium that was floor to ceiling filled with books. I used to love just standing inside!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh heck, when our library was looking for book mobile funding, people in town all dressed up as zombies and made a short little film in support. All these zombies staggering to the book mobile and leaving with arms of books, fully restored. We had way too much fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your post. I also am a veteran and fan of ‘book mobiles’. 🙂 I grew up in Colorado and the book mobile came every week to my elementary school. I loved going into the book mobile, browsing the shelves, and picking out my two books to take home for the two weeks before bringing them back to pick out another couple books to read. My love of reading and eventually my passion to write was essentially I think a result of those early years when I absorbed myself in a book and lived an imaginary life through the characters and stories in the books. It is an awesome thing for this child, October to have indulged herself and efforts in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! That is such an amazing story! 😀 It kind of reminds of the little like… birdhouse libraries you see in front of people’s houses. I think they’re such a great idea! They make it easy for everyone to access books and makes it feel like a treat that same time. 🙂 Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing, Kristen!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Children activists are brilliant. They haven’t yet “learned” that something “can’t be done,” so they tackle it head on. Adults can learn so much from children; it’s a two-way dynamic often dismissed by “grownups” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful. Too often these days library funding is the first to be cut, with people citing the internet as a substitute. However many people either don’t have internet access outside of the library, or utilize other aspects of the library.

    Liked by 1 person

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