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Release Date: 05/21/2013

Seattle's bicycling mayor helps Seattle librarians launch innovative 'Books on Bikes'’ program

Books on Bikes team

Librarians from The Seattle Public Library are launching a pilot program that uses pedal power and a customized trailer to bring Library services to popular community events this summer.


Mayor Mike McGinn will join 10 Books on Bikes librarians for the inaugural bicycle ride to TOPS K-8 School, 2500 Franklin Ave. E., on Tuesday, May 21. May is also National Bicycle Month. Wearing white Books on Bikes T-shirts, the group will leave the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., at 12:35 p.m., arriving at TOPS at approximately 1 p.m., where a fourth grade class will meet the mayor and City Librarian Marcellus Turner, hear book talks, get new Library cards and choose from among the many books from the special Books on Bikes trailer.


The idea for Books on Bikes was the inspiration of Montlake Branch Librarian Jared Mills. Mills, with the help of fellow Librarian Linda Johns, submitted the idea to a staff committee for grant funding. "I thought it would be great to combine two things Seattle loves: our libraries and bikes," Mills said.  The proposal was enthusiastically received by the committee.


"The Seattle Public Library is always looking for new ways to meet our patrons where they are," said Turner. "This project brings mobile Library services to neighborhoods and events we might not otherwise reach in a fun and innovative way."


Mills, a Central District resident, said Books on Bikes is a "full-service library model. I'm not aware of any other library that does this. We will be able to provide people with help on digital downloads, as well as offer reading suggestions, have popular new titles available for check-out, provide Library card sign-ups, assist with research and much more," he said. The trailer to accommodate all the librarians' needs was developed and constructed by Colin Stevens, who runs Haulin' Colin in Seattle.


"It was specially designed to haul a lot of weight, as well as display books and other materials on the built-in shelves," Mills said. "It also has a handy umbrella holder so we can keep our shiny new books from getting wet if the weather changes while we are out riding."


After TOPS K-8 Schools, the next stop for Books on Bikes will be at Pratt Park, 1800 S Main St., on Saturday, June 1, as part of Hopscotch CD. "We plan to offer an outdoor story time at 12:30 p.m. before everyone attempts to set the world record for the most people hopscotching!" he said. "We will have full Books on Bikes Library services as well from noon to 2 p.m."


Other confirmed visits to date include the Pride Parade and PrideFest on June 30, Cyclefest on July 18, Umoja Fest on Aug. 3 and Fiestas Patrias on Sept. 14. They also plan to attend selected KEXP Concerts at the Mural and do pop-up story times at parks and farmer's markets throughout the city.


A total of 11 Library staff members make up the Books on Bikes team. "Team members were selected based on their interest in doing this type of outreach," he said. "Each one has a different experience level as a cyclist. What we all have in common, however, is our love of engaging with residents from all Seattle communities and expanding the Library's reach beyond the limit of our physical walls - a message we put on the back of our T-shirts: 'YOUR LIBRARY WITHOUT LIMITS.'"


In addition to Mills, other members of the Books on Bikes team include:

  • West Seattle resident Misha Stone, who works at the Central Library
  • Ravenna resident Abby Bass, who works at the Central Library
  • Lake City resident Cleo Brooks, who works at the Central Library
  • Ballard resident Jonathan Koroshec, who works at the Ballard Branch
  • Queen Anne resident Christiane Woten, who works at the Queen Anne Branch
  • Ballard resident Kristin Edstrom, who works at the University Branch
  • West Seattle resident Ro Cooper, who works at the Delridge Branch
  • Ballard resident Jessica Lucas, who works at the Northeast Branch
  • Broadview resident Eric Grob, who works at the Northgate Branch
  • Queen Anne resident Dave Valencia, regional manager for the Ballard, Fremont, Queen Anne and Magnolia branches.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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