Library Style: Looking Good for the Bookmobile

Derek Attig

Staff Writer

Derek works in graduate student career development and is (believe it or not) one of the world's foremost experts on the history of bookmobiles. Follow Derek on Twitter @bookmobility and on Instagram @bookmobility.

There’s nothing better than pictures of bookmobiles. Running a close second, though, are pictures that capture wacky (but totally awesome) clothes. Put them together, and you have my own personal kryptonite: bookmobile fashion!

A while back, I compiled some great examples. But there are so many amazing bookmobile pictures out there, with so many amazing bookmobile fashions. So I’ve gathered a few more for your enjoyment and edification. Learn from the masters and get ready to look fan-freaking-tasting on your next library visit.

There are 100% not-enough bowties worn, unironically, to bookmobiles. Fix this, Book Riot readers! Here’s a model:


Look at all these prints! The checks-with-polka-dots-of-some-kind is pretty great, but I think my favorite is the stripes, especially the way vertical skirt stripes echo the book spines and the horizontal bodice stripes echo the shelves. Perfect bookmobile attire.

Children browse the exterior shelves of a bookmobile

From the Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives. Source.


Check out that quality outerwear! When you visit a bookmobile, you have to factor the cold into your outfit more than you might at a building-based library (even if the bookmobile has interior shelves, since the heating may be a bit more uneven). And these young women have it figured the hell out. Especially the star buttons on the jacket on the left and—yes yes yes!—whatever magic is happening in the middle. Is that a hood? Is it a weird fuzzy flap? Who cares! It’s glorious.

three patrons stand in front of a counter in a bookmobile with two librarians behind the counter

From the Mount Vernon Public Library.

Who doesn’t love overall shorts? Like the cold, you also have to factor heat and humidity into your fashion choices. Not everyone deals as cleverly, or stylishly, with the summer. You can tell that the kid on the right is looking soulfully at the camera asking, “Why can’t my overalls be shorts?”


You simply have to respect someone who can mix denims with such panache. I bet she’s a librarian. They know what’s up.

woman and child posed in front of bookmobile interior shelves

From the Mount Vernon Library


Like I said about stripes…


And if you don’t have stripes to wear, there are other options.

Dragon puppet in interior of bookmobile

Dragon visits San Francisco Public Library. From


So next time you get gussied up to go to the library (you do gussy up, yes?), take your cues from these bookmobile patrons. You won’t regret it.