The Lake County Public Library has taken to the streets with its newly created book bike.
Established after a pilot program was tried out earlier in the summer, the book bike, or bibliobici, has become a regular fixture at sites around town.
When the library was tasked with figuring out how to continue offering programming amid COVID-19, staff saw a lack of access to library services and an absence of reading material for out-of-school children and adults sequestered in their homes, Sadie Rehm, young adult services coordinator for Lake County Public Library, said.
“I thought it would be a fun way to connect with community members who might not be familiar with or have access to library services, and to bring the library out of our building,” Rehm said.
After borrowing equipment from local businesses for the program’s trial run, the library saw it was successful and set to creating their own bike and cart set up. With plywood, help from local handypeople, and a bike trailer from Leadvello Bicicasa, the Lake County Public Library soon had its own bibliobicicleta.
In July, the book bike started with weekly mobile check-out events before its official launch at the start of August.
Rehm and Stacy Contreras, Spanish services and cataloguing specialist with the library, launched the program in earnest with a tour that covered every street of Lake Fork Mobile Home Park and Mountain View Village East and West in one day. In the first day, the pair distributed 100 books to people throughout the community, Rehm said.
If the book bike is somewhere where staff can access the internet, patrons can check out or return library materials. When the book bike travels outside of internet access on the edges of town, the book bike simply distributes books for free.
Since it launch, the book bike has attended 12 events, including lunch pickups at Lake County High School, Cloud City Conservation Center’s Friday farm market and food distribution at St. George Espicopal Church.
The program is scheduled to continue running through the summer, and locations and times can be found on the event schedule on the library’s website.
The open-air format, hand sanitizer, masks and social distancing help to make the bibliobici a COVID-friendly alternative to conventional library services.
Lake County Public Library hopes to adapt the program to continue through the winter, with an eye on a fat bike as a possible solution, Rehm said.
The library is ready to take requests to appear at events with the bibliobicicleta. To schedule an appearance of the book bike, contact Rehm at email@example.com