The Airdrie Public Library (APL) has announced the return of its popular ‘Book Bike’ initiative this summer, which was first introduced last July to provide on-the-go library amenities to Airdronians.
Eric Pottie, programming and customer engagement manager for APL, likened the library-on-wheels to a mobile pop-up library that is powered by a bicycle with a trailer full of books in tow.
He said as part of the initiative, APL staff can bring library services to different public places in the community, including a wide variety of books to check out, an internet hotspot, and an iPad to help residents sign up for their free library cards, which offer full membership to the library.
“It’s usually about 200 odd books we can fit in the cart and that’s all ages, from preschool picture books to adult non-fiction, fiction, graphic novels, and everything in between,” Pottie said. “The last couple of weeks, we’ve been bringing reading logs for our summer reading club.”
Pottie added staff ensure they have brochures about library programming to offer residents, along with being available to answer any questions about APL resources.
He said the Book Bike is currently running and will continue throughout the summer months, weather permitting.
“Our main place we go to is the [farmers’] market. We go to festivals as well,” he said, adding the “book-mobile” made an appearance at the Airdrie Children’s Festival and Pride in the Park festival in May and June, respectively.
“We go to the Farmer’s Market every week as long as the weather allows – books aren’t a big fan of the rain.”
Pottie added the Book Bike is slated to appear at various events in Nose Creek Regional Park throughout the summer.
“We’re hoping to get through the whole summer and then into September doing that,” he said. “Last year we went into mid-to-late September. We did airdrieFEST in September, so we were able to go all the way up to October.”
He added last year’s airdrieFEST was a resounding success for the initiative, as the Book Bike didn’t get off the ground until early July.
“We did miss out on some festivals last year, but airdrieFEST was very popular,” he said. “We talked to over 300 people and we had 32 [library] registrations, so it’s really great.
Last summer, Pottie said just under a thousand people engaged with the Book Bike. Just under 200 items were signed out, and 90 people signed up for library cards thanks to the initiative.
Pottie said this year, APL is hoping to improve on those numbers by starting up the Book Bike earlier in the year and keeping it going throughout the summer months.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity to do it again this year and it is a really great way [to] engage with a whole bunch of people who may not be active library users,” he said. “We’re really happy to be able to bring literacy out into the community.”
He said APL hopes to foster a love of reading and literacy in Airdrie and encourages residents to check out the Book Bike when they see it out and about.
“We’re always happy to have people come up and talk to us – if people see us, don’t be afraid to come and say hi,” he said.