School Daze #1: Remembering the KISS Army & Bookmobiles

Bookmobiles were big in the 1970's.  I didn't really get it then, and I don't get it now.  This bus would roll up to the neighborhood being driven by some dude that looked like Gallagher, and we'd cram in and scavenge for books that we could've found at the library. Huh?

Okay. If you don't have access to a library, I can see the point.  But a bunch of elementary school idiots squashed together in a dark, smelly, claustrophobic bus to check out Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary books was the pits.

In the Summer, my parents dropped me off at the library (the kind not on wheels) for some dreadful "library school", I don't remember exactly what it was called.  A defining memory from this period is when they had us in the basement to watch Benji (or some movie about an abused dog) on the film projector.  My friend and I had been members of the KISS Army and gotten the Gene Simmons blood capsules.  We simultaneously chomped on them and the blood dripped down from our lips in spectacular rivers of gore, impressing everyone but the poor librarian.


  1. Don't denigrate libraries, it's hard to find funding for them now!! I LOVED the library!

    The bookmobiles were intended for the lower income families whose neighborhoods didn't have libraries, or parents that would take them there.

  2. A bookmobile came to our middle school in 1974/75, when I was 9. It seemed extra cool, because they had "pop culture" stuff, like the HAPPY DAYS and APES novels, and the Power Records Marvel Comics book-and-record sets! My best pal got the CAPTAIN AMERICA one!

    I always was envious of the short-run DC Comics "ComicMobile" they tried in the same period in NY. Trying to hip kids to comics in areas underserved by the old distribution system. Kids would mob the CM, thinking it was an ice cream truck!

    Al Bigley

  3. I work for the public library believe it or not and actually love my job. Our system has a bookmobile. They still go to neighborhoods and are quite popular.

  4. I never saw a bookmobile growing up in Atlantic Canada, but there were a few days a year where we'd get an announcement that there were books for sale in the library. I still have some of them, including the excellent "The Untold Legend of the Batman" paperback.