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LET'S TALK LIBRARIES

A blog from the Southern Ontario Library Service

Meaford Public Library’s Book Bike

This summer, you can find the Meaford Public Library (MPL) staff in a new spot ‒ rolling around town on their Book Bike.

The Meaford Public Library’s Book Bike at Beautiful Joe Park.

The Meaford Public Library’s Book Bike at Beautiful Joe Park.

The idea came from the Wellington City Library in New Zealand, who hosted a webinar about their own Book Bike: taking it to story times outside of the library; registering new members; signing out material and more. We thought, “We can do that too.”

The goal of the MPL Book Bike initiative was to have an out-of-the-box promotion bringing library services to our members wherever they are, as well as engaging those who have never set foot in our library (or perhaps any library). We bring the Book Bike to popular community locations such as the splash pad and the Meaford Farmers’ Market. We unload library materials: books; magazines; movies; etc. onto an empty picnic table creating a Pop-Up Library as well as holding a story time.

Why do we need a bike for this? Because it gets a lot of attention. When people see us rolling along, they follow and wait for us to set up shop.

The MPL Book Bike has been a great outreach tool as we are able to reach new people of all ages. They see for themselves that we carry the latest bestsellers, blockbuster movies, audiobooks, magazines and more. We can also promote the programs we offer for children and adults, often with a story time happening in the background.

Story time at the splash pad.

Story time at the splash pad.

In addition to taking the bike to programs and events, we have used it for a summer contest. Each week, we submit a photo of the Book Bike at a different location throughout Meaford to the local newspapers and readers come to the library to submit their guess as to the Book Bike’s location. This helps to promote Meaford’s lovely parks and playgrounds as well as Meaford Hall and the Meaford Museum.

Story time at the Meaford Farmers’ Market with library employee, Heather Ann Hanson.

Story time at the Meaford Farmers’ Market with library employee, Heather Ann Hanson.

We also promote our partner, Ride on Bikes, the local business that loaned the bike to the library free of change. We save money by borrowing the bike, plus we can store it at the Ride on Bikes shop and maintenance is done by the owner, Paul Bishop. In turn, we help promote his business by acknowledging Ride on Bikes’ support each week, and we display the shop’s business cards at the Pop-Up Library. And when we roll up at an event, the first thing people ask is, where did you get that bike?

Meaford Public Library’s summer student, Shauntel Highfield and the owner of Ride on Bikes, Paul Bishop.

Meaford Public Library’s summer student, Shauntel Highfield and the owner of Ride on Bikes, Paul Bishop.

This has been a truly fun initiative by the library and we hope to continue riding around town next summer!