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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Greenfield Regional Library System book delivery truck, getting loaded up by a librarian

Greenfield Regional Library Center's book delivery truck, circa 1949.
(Image from MBLC files)


In 1949: "Books circulated [to 90 communities] via bookmobile from [the] Fall River, Greenfield, and Pittsfield Regional Library Centers."1


State bookmobile service has evolved into an extensive system of interlibrary loans (ILL) and robust statewide delivery service. From July 2013 to June 2014, 6.7 million ILL items circulated between Massachusetts's libraries, predominantly through Optima, a courier delivery service, for the Massachusetts Library System.

What else happened in 1949?

  • George Orwell's 1984 was published. Orwell died of tuberculosis not long after2, missing the opportunity to see many of his dystopian visions of surveillance become quite close to reality in recent years.
    Libraries have always worked to shield the intellectual freedom and privacy of their patrons from the prying eyes of "Big Brother."
  • August 25: RCA introduced its system for color television broadcasting. After a couple years of litigation, the system of rival CBS was adopted in the summer of 1951. Well over 10 million Americans had a TV set at home by that time.3

1. Sixtieth Annual Report of the Board of Free Public Library Commissioners for the Year Ending June 30, 1949.
2. [link].
3. Color television - Wikipedia entry [link].