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A public library on a bicycle? Seattle has one

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Seattle is a great book town. And also a great biking town. So it should comes as little surprise that Seattle now given us a mobile, people-powered public library that’s wheeled about town by pedaling librarians

“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,” Library Journal reports this week.

Last month, Mayor Mike McGinn helped inaugurate the summer pilot program by biking from the city’s Central Library to an elementary school with books and a team of librarians in tow.

The program, he said, features librarians offering “a full-service library on a bike. They can help with digital downloads, with reading suggestions, library card sign-ups and assist with research,” he said. Each mobile library will come with a Wi-Fi connection and a tablet for the librarian to access the Internet.

“Librarians are the very definition of helpfulness,” he said. “And this is the proof. They’re going to come to you.”

The Books on Bikes fleet is staffed by a 11 librarians. Their mobile collection will visit neighborhoods and public gatherings throughout the summer. The collection includes about 400 titles and includes fiction and children’s and teen literature

“We really try to have in that collection what is attention-grabbing and, again, reflective of the diversity of the city,” branch librarian Jared Mills told Library Journal. “We have a little bit everything in that collection.”

The mobile library was designed and built by Haulin’ Colin, a Seattle metal shop specializing in bike frames, trailers and components. And since it’s been known to rain in Seattle, each trailer comes equipped with an umbrella to keep the books from getting wet.

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hector.tobar@latimes.com

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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