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bicycles

Aug 19 2013

Books on Bikes

by Jesse M

Books on BikesWe’ve discussed bookmobiles on the blog a couple of times in the past (once in 2010 and again in 2011), but today’s post is about a bookmobile with a slight twist; in addition to having books available for checkout, Seattle Public Library system’s new Books on Bikes program also offers another high-demand library service: internet access.

Conceived by librarian Jared Mills, the Books on Bikes program will feature 11 librarians on bikes hauling custom-made trailers that carry 500lb (227kg) of books, a large sign and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The library-cycles will show up at festivals, parades, and parks, utilizing social media like facebook and twitter to keep the community informed of their upcoming appearances. By breaking down the physical boundaries of the library, Books on Bikes hopes to reach out to a new demographic, the Millennials, whose support of libraries will mean the difference between public libraries growing or becoming obsolete. The pilot project will run through the summer months and officials will decide in October whether to continue the program.

For more information, check out these articles from the Economist and NPR.

Are programs like this the future of library outreach? Would a similar program be successful in your community? Let us know in the comments.

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Dec 2 2008

Car-less in Atlanta…

by Jnai W

I don’t have a car. And I live in Atlanta.

Those are two sentences that, to the casual observer, should not be uttered by anyone…in a single breath.  But they are true of many Atlantans, myself included.  Whether one is willfully car-less in our fair, sprawling city or whether one is financially restricted to public transportation (or a combination of both, such as I am), being without a car in Atlanta is not easy…but not impossible.

The most obvious and well-known option throughout Metro Atlanta is MARTA, with service in Dekalb and Fulton counties. MARTA isn’t perfect–limited bus services in many areas–but it is a feasible option. Planning ahead is imperative but, thankfully, that has gotten much easier with their website’s Trip Planner feature.  Other mass transit options have come about over the past few years and, in conjuction with MARTA, can really help you navigate around the city.  Buslines serving the Buckhead district (the Buc) as well as university communities such as Emory and Georgia Tech can also be a big help.

A great place for information about alternative transportation is the website for Citizens For Progressive Transit.  Here you’ll find all the latest news about developments in Atlanta’s transit system (for example, What is Concept 3 and what does it mean to Atlanta?  There’s a meeting about it tonight!).  You’ll also find links to informative websites about other means of car-less transportation, such as the Path foundation for bikers, runners and walkers and P.E.D.S, a site about pedestrianism (is that a word?).

I’ve been surviving carlessly here in A-Town for about 5 years now…and I’m strongly considering giving up the ghost and getting my own set of wheels.  But until I do, the aforementioned methods and sources are decent ways to get where you need to go without a car or at least getting close enough and hoofing it the rest of the way–thanks, MARTA.

Seriously…I am curious about Concept 3.  I should try and get to that meeting.  Could someone give me a lift?

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Jun 26 2008

Learn how to fix your bicycle!

by Jimmy L

Peopleinshop1 This weekend I bought a bicycle at a yard sale for cheap.  It was nearly in perfect condition, but the handlebars were uncomfortable.  I could replace the handlebars, but that would be pricey and I didn’t have the right tools or the know-how to do it.

Fortunately, there is an organization in town that is perfect for what I needed.  It’s called The Sopo Bicycle Co-op and it’s in East Atlanta, pretty close to DeKalb county!  Sopo is a non-profit organization whose main goal is to teach you how to fix up your bicycle.  If you have a broken bike or even if you don’t have one at all, show up and learn how to fix it up (or build one from scratch).  They have a staff of volunteers ready to help you learn, but be prepared to do the actual wrench-turning yourself!

The shop accepts (very reasonable) suggested donations for parts and time spent using their tools, but nobody is ever turned away for lack of funds!  Their shop hours are 7pm to 10pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 2pm to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Check out their website for more information!

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