I love to read and I love to learn. These are not things that I have come to love by accident. Education has always been something that my family has held in high regard. Even when opportunities were not obvious, my family has always been the type to make the most of a situation. Education to my family doesn’t necessarily mean school as it can come in many different ways.
Education was extremely important to my Great Aunt, Margaret Charlotte Robinson Jones. Margaret grew up and lived in Harlan County, Kentucky, an area not known for numerous educational opportunities. That didn’t stop Margaret from not only educating herself, but helping to educate the community.
Around the Harlan community, Margaret was known for her work on the Harlan County Book-mobile. The Book-mobile was like a food truck of today, but with books. Harlan County is a very rural and mountainous area and many people didn’t have the means or the time to come into town to go to the library. For some, reading was a luxury that just wasn’t part of their every day life. Margaret and her Book-mobile changed that. She brought books and knowledge to people’s doorsteps. The Book-mobile was used to reach children, elderly, disabled, and the poor. The Book-mobile even visited the local prison. Nobody was turned away from the Book-mobile. If there was a way it could it to you, Margaret and her driver would make sure that it did. It was opening the whole world at people’s doorsteps.
The Book-mobile was not all serious and no fun. Margaret would tell the story of some of the elderly ladies in the community. They would ask her to bring them some “dirty” books. The ladies were too embarrassed to come to the main library to check them out. The “dirty” books it turns out, were Harlequin romance novels. I love this story and the fact that it shows the innocence of a time gone by.
In order to provide the people of Harlan County to be blessed with the Book-mobile, Margaret had to educate herself. This required her to attend a conference at Moorehead University. Through the Personal Development Institute she completed a certification process along with other public and book-mobile librarians.
Margaret had a deep passion for her work on the Book-mobile. She loved being able to reach people who may not of otherwise had the opportunity to hold these books in their hands. Sadly, Margaret’s life was cut short as she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and passed away at the age of 47. Without a doubt, her legacy carries on through the many lives that she and her Book-mobile touched.