The spread of knowledge through the mobility of books

Bookmobiles enjoy a rich history of providing "knowledge on wheels" and
"food for thought" to young and older readers alike, especially in rural
areas of America, Virginia and Patrick County. Much of my early
curiosity about the world beyond my own rural community stemmed from the
Patrick County Library's "welcomed wagon of books."

In my formative years, when my brother, Larry, and I lived at our
paternal grandparents' farm on Route 8, North of the County Seat of
Stuart, legend has it that our grandparents' home was the only private
residence where the Library's Bookmobile stopped for book checkouts, so
great was the number of books checked out on a monthly basis.
Apparently, there was a limit placed on the number of books checked out
by one individual on a monthly basis, so I enlisted my brother and a
friend to check out books that I wanted to read beyond the limit.  The
then librarian and bookmobile driver was the angelic Miss Lady Louise
Clark, who I've always suspected smiled and looked approvingly the other
way at such a voracious appetite for books. I've never forgotten that
experience of many years ago and the importance of public investments in
libraries and bookmobiles.

Years later, when I was serving as Governor of Virginia,  I made an
early, personal, financial contribution when plans were announced to
build a new Patrick County Library; and it was a pleasure to speak later
at the dedication of the County's new "temple of knowledge" and to
donate a world globe as a symbol to young readers that one can travel
the world through books without ever leaving home.

I still visit the County's Library and Museum occasionally when I'm
"back home." Perhaps on my next visit, I can "check out" the new

Under separate cover, I am sending my check in gratitude, and to support
the local efforts to purchase a new bookmobile for a new generation of

With kindest regards, I am

Gerald L. Baliles
Governor of Virginia (1986-90)