Public library systems in several North American cities have successfully initiated a book bike program which literally (bad pun) brings books right to you on bicycles. The earliest version of this I have come across is from the Pima County Library system in Tucson, Arizona, which appears to be based on individuals who started charitable versions in Portland, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois. Others have been identified in Oakland, California; Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; Cleveland Heights/University Heights, Ohio; and Whitehorse, Yukon.
Unlike the traditional clunky bookmobiles that are limited to driving streets and parking lots, book bikes can pedal right up to group of avid readers nearly anywhere – a city or neighborhood park, a plaza, an alley, a fair, a parade, or even door-to-door to distribute books and periodicals from the library system in a clean, energy-efficient way. According to the Pima County website, its “Bookbike” distributed more than 11,000 books at 91 events (approximate 120 at each event) during its first year of operation.
Perhaps even more important, book bikes are a distinct and identifiable example to everyone that bicycles are a terrific mode of transportation for a variety of purposes – not just recreation. Good work to everyone involved in such a worthwhile endeavor. Hopefully, other cities across the land and worldwide will begin “pedaling” books this way!