A small group of Seattle Public Library (SPL) staff will be pedaling—and peddling—books on the pavement this summer, thanks to the new Books on Bikes pilot program.
Librarians on bicycles are traveling to several outdoor events across the city with a custom-built book trailer that can carry 500 pounds of materials and display 75 books at a time. The bicycling librarians will hold book talks, pop-up story times, and information sessions at venues large and small in public parks, farmers markets, and at other community events, such as the Pride Parade and PrideFest, Cyclefest, Umoja Fest, and Fiesta Patrias.
This roaming library also has a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, which the librarians will use with tablet computers to show visitors how to access ebooks and other digital services, help answer reference and research questions, and even check out books and activate library cards for new patrons.
Almost all of the books the librarians brought on the trailer ended being checked out by the students and new library cards were distributed to six students who never had one before, said Montlake Branch librarian Jared Mills, who created the program with help from librarian Linda Johns. The students also provided a number of suggestions for other locations to visit with Books on Bikes, such as a homeless shelter or the Seattle waterfront, Mills said.
“Books on Bikes is green, sustainable, and represents the unique Seattle bike culture that people really love here,” Mills said. “The program shows how the library is really active, and really a part of the community, a part of the neighborhood, and we want to be where people are.”