As the Bradley Beach Memorial Day parade helps kick start the official summer season this weekend, crowds can expect to see not only the typical parade fanfare such as marchers, floats and firetrucks but the debut of what is soon to be another borough favorite: the “Book Bike.”
Manned in the parade by Sharlene Edwards, library program coordinator, the “Book Bike” may very well be the talk of the town as it will be the first time residents will be able to have access to the library on a “roaming basis.”
Edwards said she will ride the “Book Bike” in the parade along with fellow bicyclists and co-workers Janet Torsney, library director, and Andrea Wilson, preschool craft coordinator.
“We are really looking forwad to it. Bradley Beach is a walking town so it really makes sense to have the ‘Book Bike'” she said. “Such a bike is really getting popular because it is so cost effective and environmentally friendly. And it also gives the library increased visibility.”
Torsney initiated the idea for a “Book Bike” within the borough after reading about Seattle Public Library’s “Books on Bikes” pilot program.
“I saw the story about Seattle and I thought ‘that’s interesting.’ It’s a very innnovative program and I thought we could do it here. The Friends of Bradley Beach Library said they would pay for it. It cost about $250 for the whole deal. The bike was purchased by Friends at Second Life Bikes, a used bike and repair shop in Asbury Park. They turned a rusty old bike into a beautiful ‘Book Bike,'” she said.
She added that the refurbished bike will bring the library to people, wherever they are.
The “Book Bike” will be utilized throughout the summer as librarians will be riding the bike around the borough to distribute books, magazines, and information; answer reference questions and sign up new library members.
“We love when people come into our beautiful library,” Torsney said. “But we are also happy to bring the library to them. The bike is the newest way we are bringing reading and more to people.”
Edwards said the choice to debut the “Book Bike” at the parade is a natural one because of the high visibility.
“It will get people interested and we can stop and chat with them. It’s important to put ourselves out there in the community. We try to make reading pleasurable. We want to try and make it easy as possible for people to get to us,” she said. “Janet spearheaded the idea. We had talked about doing something like this in the past. Our main focus is giving out books, signing up people for library cards and distributing flyers about our programs and events.”
Edwards said that the library plans to continue the bike throughout the summer and the warmer months.
Torsney said that the concept of the “Book Bike” is really an “old-fashioned idea.”
“It’s a book mobile but more fun. I think people will like it. We plan to hopefully ride to the beach, the recreation center for summer camp, the senior center and to homes where people are elderly, sick or housebound. It’s really about spreading the word about the library and reaching out to the community,” Edwards added.
For more information about the “Book Bike” contact the library at 732-776-2995.
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