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Bringing books to the people, Boulder Junction Public Library rolls out book bike

Boulder Junction Public Library

Boulder Junction has become well known for its beautiful bike trails.

Visitors and residents will start seeing a new kind of bike roaming the trails thanks to grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction had $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to distribute to libraries in the state.

It offered a list of items library directors could choose from to support services at their library.

As Boulder Junction Public Library Director Cherie Sanderson went down the list, she knew what she wanted as soon as she saw it.

“We’d already gotten some of the other things that were on the list and when I saw book bike I went, ‘That’s ours. That’s what we’re getting,’” said Sanderson.

The Boulder Junction Public Library is now the proud owner of a book bike.

Picture a tricycle but with two wheels in front and one in back. The back end looks like your standard bike. Between the two front wheels is a large box painted purple and green. Sanderson says the library wouldn’t have been able to afford the bike without the grant, but it’s something that she’s had her eye on for a while now.

“There’s just a very big bicycling vibe and bicycling community in Boulder Junction. Of all the towns in the Northwoods, this would be a great place to bring in a book bike,” she said.

Sanderson is excited to put it use, after she gets the hang of it.

Boulder Junction Public Library

“I bike on the trails every week, but I’ve never gone on a tricycle with a very heavy cargo box in the front,” said Sanderson. “We have to figure out how that all works. It’s going to be kind of an experimentation the rest of this summer.”

The library was supposed to get the bike earlier this summer, but with manufacturing and shipping delays it did come until late July.

Sanderson says the possible uses for book bike are endless.

“To start with, since we got it so late in the season, we are just going to stock it with free books for kids to start. Go out into the community, to community events, to the park, where bikers park to get on the trail, and have some free books, have some handouts about our programs, have library card applications,” she said.

Eventually, the library will be able to bring out a laptop and hot spot and sign people up for library cards as well as check out books from the bike.

Sanderson also hopes it will raise awareness for all the services the Boulder Junction Library offers.

She says she’s amazed at the number of visitors who don’t realize the town even has a library.

“Bringing that book bike out into the park or to the bike parking lots will be our opportunity to say ‘hey do you know that this community has a really awesome public library? You can get a library card. You can check out materials. We have programming. We have book talks. We have children’s reading programs. Just to be able to use it as a PR tool to help us continue our rebound after the pandemic,” said Sanderson.

You can see the book bike in action this Wednesday evening. Sanderson plans to have it out at Music on Main Street from 6:30 to 8:00.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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