Library book bike rides again
After putting its book bike program on hold in 2020 due to COVID-19, Heights Libraries is ready to bring the bike out of quarantine and hit the road this spring and summer, offering outdoor library events in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.
A gift from the FRIENDS of Heights Libraries, the book bike is a sturdy touring-style bike that pulls a custom-made trailer that can hold and display roughly 200 books for customers to take. These free books are also provided by the FRIENDS, who comb through their book donations to find books that will appeal to children and teens.
“It’s a small library on wheels,” said Isabelle Rew, community engagement associate, who manages the bike and is its primary rider. “The only difference is that customers don’t have to return these books—they get to keep them, which is especially important for our kids.”
“Numerous studies over the past decade point to book ownership as an important part of early literacy,” Rew continued. “When children have their own books, they tend to read them over and over, which aids in the recognition of letters, sounds and words. Book ownership also sends the message to children that books and reading should be part of their daily lives."
To keep book bike staff and customers safe, the library is requiring the same safety precautions it has implemented in its buildings: Customers must wear facemasks and stay 6 feet away from others. Staff will provide hand sanitizer and have extra masks on hand for those customers who don’t have a mask.
“Taking the bike out in the community again makes me feel so hopeful,” said Rew. “It feels like another way the world is opening up a little bit—I hope it gives our community a sense of hope and a sense of fun. I’ve really missed seeing everyone.”
Families can find the book bike at outdoor storytimes and other events throughout the spring and summer. Check heightslibrary.org for a schedule of events, or check the spring and summer issues of the library’s program guide, Check Us Out, which is mailed to every household and is also available at each library branch.
Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.