The folks over at the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library are planning to take the library to the people this summer via a new “book bike,” and before they take delivery they’re asking the public to give the bike a catchy name.
Through March 31, people can submit entries by visiting brookfieldlibrary.info/bookbike on the library’s website. The winner will be announced when the bike arrives in town, probably in May.
“It’s something that’s fun,” said Christy Eyre, assistant director and marketing manager for the library. “As we saw with the snowplow contest, there are lots of creative people out there.”
Eyre is referring to the contest last December to name the Brookfield Department of Public Works’ six snowplows. The contest generated more than 1,000 entries, which residents voted on in January. The top vote getter: Clearopathra.
Book bikes are a recent trend for public libraries, said Eyre, and emerged out of the COVID-19 pandemic. As libraries closed their doors to the public for long stretches, book bikes brought library services to people in outdoor settings.
Library officials are putting the finishing touches on their order, which will be submitted to Portland, Oregon-based Icicle Tricycles, which started out about a century ago making carts for frozen treat vendors.
Now the company make trikes for a range of uses, from selling ice cream and coffee to carting library materials around town. Each library bike is mounted with a reinforced frame cargo box, which opens to reveal shelves to hold books and devices, a chalkboard with a brochure holder and display rack and a flip-open shelf suitable for laptop use.
The company also custom paints the boxes as requested by its customers. Eyre said library officials are still working on the final graphic design of the box. When it’s all said and done, the bike will end up costing in the neighborhood of $5,000, Eyre said.
The library plans to use the book bike as an outreach tool at community events, like the Brookfield Farmers Market. It can also be driven to various parts of the village, especially ones farther away from the library itself.
“One of the challenges for people in Brookfield is that south of Ogden, the library’s not as easily available to them,” Eyre said.
The book bike could set up shop in a place like Ehlert Park for example, and in addition to offering books to check out, patrons could check out internet hotspots or laptops and even sign up for library cards.
“We can do all the same things we can do in the library,” Eyre said.