ROCKINGHAM, Vermont – For years, libraries in densely populated areas have had bookmobiles, vehicles that bring books to various locations to extend accessibility. Now the Rockingham Free Public Library has its own version of such a thing for its annual summer reading program for young people. Last Wednesday, Youth Services Librarian Samantha Maskell unveiled the new bike at an event at Bellows Falls Central School. The bike actually looks more like a tricycle with two wheels in the front and one in the back and is officially called Bibliobike.
At the last minute, the high school student hired to outfit the bike had to give up the job. Maskell overcame the crisis by cycling herself from the library to the back of Central School. The bike has a rechargeable electric assist motor, and Maskell said, “The electric assist is great.” She also added that the Bellows Falls Bike Project has been “incredibly helpful”.
The Bibliobike is colorful, with identifying lettering, and it really is something to behold. It has a large box in the front for all the books and supplies, which opens up as a display area. It also comes with a brand new tablet which is linked to the library system, allowing the operator to perform all library functions, such as checking in and out of books and accessing their vast catalog, and it provides Wi-Fi for others. utilize.
Rockingham Library has had a summer reading program for many years. Maskell said: “I have older people who say to me, ‘I remember doing this when I was a kid.’ This year’s schedule, with events and other special programs, is basically the same as usual. The Bibliobike addition is funded by a two-year grant from the Vermont After School Summer Expanding Program.
The unveiling of the Bibliobike was combined with a storytelling event for children by Marsh Klassen-Landis, which really set the tone for the event. There was a free children’s book giveaway, where each child could pick up two free books, and a nearby Parks Place table promoting their free diaper program. Part of the funding for the event also came from the Children’s Literacy Foundation, which involves a collaboration between the library and the central school. Kerry Kennedy, Principal of Central School, said, “We are delighted that the Bibliobike is bringing books to children.
Maskell also noted a difference between their curriculum and the required readings students must do during the school year. She said: “Summer reading allowing children to self-select is one of the most positive things parents can do.”
The library still needs an operator to outfit the bike. Maskell says you only need to be 16 or older to fill the 20-hour position, which is funded with the Bibliobike. The person must be able to do “story time” and have the technical knowledge to operate the tablet. Maskell says anyone interested can contact her at [email protected], or call her at 802-463-4270. Rockingham Library cardholders can contact it to request the new Bibliobike stop at their location, or one can simply click on “bike inquiry” on the library’s website, www.rockinghamlibrary.org, to request a stop for their children wherever there is a nearby convenient place to park and settle down. Maskell notes that this includes Saxtons River, where the bike will be every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A calendar of always exciting Summer Reading Program events is also available on the website or by calling the library.