The Carson City Library in Northern Nevada is taking their public outreach tool to the streets. Shaped like a teardrop trailer, their Pedal Library is towed by bicycle and opens up to reveal books, USB charging stations, a WiFi hotspot, and even a bubble machine for kids.
Built by Burgeon Group in Phoenix, Arizona, this mobile library for Carson City is the first to be painted bright red. Several other libraries in the country have commissioned the designers to build similar bike-powered mobile libraries.
Towed by a bike, the library only weighs about 140 lb.
The goal of this little library is to provide WiFi and power to patrons, and allow them to check out books via a mobile device and online checkout system. The library can be towed to special events such as farmers markets and contains books relevant to each event.
The initial design was made for the San Francisco Public Library, but the Denver Public Library and the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library in Indiana each have one as well.
The inside contains two lithium batteries (like the ones used for handheld drills) that run the USB ports, and the turning & brake lights.
The Carson City Pedal Library carries up to 50 lb. of books and gear for the riders.
The trailer is made up of three types of metal and the tires are by CST. When open, the doors become two display tables and flags & colorful pinwheels can be attached to the roof. A bubble machine is included for a little clean fun for children.
“Several of our patrons have asked if they could sleep in it,” Natalie Wood, Carson City Library Creative Learning Manager laughs. “They think it’s so cool and it has been really well received in our community, primarily because we are very outdoor-oriented in this area.”
The Pedal Library was funded with help from Friends of the Carson City Library, and the bike’s hitch was installed by The Bike Smith. The little library lives inside the big library when not on the road, but several trained staff members are happy when they can take it out.
“It’s similar to towing a baby trailer,” Wood says. “Once you get going it’s fun, but you do have to give yourself more time to stop.”
The San Francisco Public Library pedal library, named Spoke & Word, was the initial design and went through several variations to make it safe for the city’s steep streets.
Spoke & Word is used to inform the Bay Area’s technology company employees about the library’s online offerings. Kim van der Veen, Burgeon Group’s owner and principle designer, says that they only design and build the cute trailers for public libraries but there is an unending number of applications.
Pedal Library designs: Copyright, all rights reserved, Burgeon Group.