Paperback Rider to return this spring
Oak Park's Book Bike has had a glorious second season cruising the streets of Oak Park! Affectionately nicknamed "Paperback Rider" in last year’s community-driven naming campaign, the three-wheeled mobile library delivered resources and good cheer throughout the area, improving community access to the library.
Why a Book Bike?
“The Book Bike gives us the freedom and flexibility to take our library professionals, services, and resources ‘to the streets,’ increasing our reach and visibility out in the community,” said Neighborhood Services Librarian Sarah Yale. “By meeting residents where they are—whether it’s the Farmers’ Market, senior center, or community event —we make authentic human connections and engage with people in new and traditional ways.
“It's a fun, personal, ecologically friendly tool for connecting with us, for regular users and for those who’ve had barriers to visiting,” said Yale. “From storytimes to mobile checkouts and reference services, the Book Bike brings the library to you.”
Check out items, apply for a library card
Library staff who have been trained to safely operate the bike pedal it to scheduled community events and outreach locations. For each appearance, the bike’s cargo hold is stocked with relevant materials—cookbooks and gardening manuals at the Farmers’ Market, for example, and children’s books at daycare storytimes. Visitors can learn about library services and programs, use their library card to check out materials, and apply for a library card. The Book Bike cannot accept returns or paid fines.
The bike, crafted by Haley Tricycles in Philadelphia and shipped to Oak Park in April 2015, was funded by generous donations to the library’s Fallon Family Fund, a dedicated fund established to help the library deliver cutting-edge projects and resources for all of our community’s children. The original idea, which libraries in other cities like Seattle also have adopted, was developed by Chicagoan Gabriel Levinson in 2008. For years, Levinson rode his custom-built book bike around Chicago parks, handing out free books.