Ready to meet the Astoria Library’s “spokes” person?
It’s going to be wheely exciting.
Library staff devoted some time — maybe more than they want to admit — to drafting puns for their newest outreach tool: a bike-powered library on wheels named “Spokes.”
The custom-built cargo tricycle will travel to school and outdoor events, and even trundle down the Astoria Riverwalk. A long cart at the front of the bike is lined with shelves for books and other materials. It also acts as a Wi-Fi hot spot. People will be able to check out items or sign up for library cards.
“It’s basically just a way of getting the library out of the library, reaching people where they are,” said Ami Kreider, a library assistant.
The book bike, or bookmobile, is not a new phenomenon. Libraries across the country use book bikes to convey library services and books around town.
Kreider said the idea “immediately resonated.” She is an avid cyclist, but also loved the idea of taking the library out of doors. She dreamed for several years of how to bring a book bike to Astoria.
“Libraries more and more are trying not to be confined in four walls, but to bring their services out to where people already are,” she said.
Spokes cost around $3,200, with a portion of the money coming from an endowment fund given to the city by Don Goodall in memory of his parents. Goodall intended the fund to be used for library resources, Library Director Jimmy Pearson said.
Employees with Fort George Brewery offered to pick up the trike when they were in Portland on brewery business, saving the library the cost of shipping. Astoria Design Studio donated time to decorate the sides of the cart.
Spokes will contain a small collection of books devoted especially to the book bike, but also tailored to fit the event Kreider is attending. This could mean a collection of Astoria-specific books and maritime history books for a Columbia River Maritime Museum event or the Astoria Sunday Market, or books for younger readers if Kreider is headed to a school.
Kreider plans to be out on the bike at least twice a week for several hours throughout the summer.
Pearson said there are no hard and fast objectives for the book bike, no monthly quotas to meet in terms of books borrowed or new library cards issued. It is purely an outreach tool, memorable and fun.
“I think the smiles on peoples’ faces already mean it’s a success,” he said.