Library combines bikes with books

BRANCH 13: Simon Christiansen with Book Bike, the newest edition to the City Libraries' branches.
BRANCH 13: Simon Christiansen with Book Bike, the newest edition to the City Libraries' branches.

Wellington City Libraries has introduced a 13th branch - it's green with wheels and a capacity of two people but will be reaching hundreds of Wellingtonians this summer.

The new Book Bike will be pedalling up and down Wellington's Waterfront every fine Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the next seven weeks, with dedicated librarians Axel Shaw and Simon Christiansen.

The Book Bike, a project by Wellington City Libraries and The Enormous Crocodile Company, lets people on the waterfront - regardless of whether they have a library card - take books away to read and keep. It doubles as a rolling promotion for library services.

Shaw, who moved to Wellington from Buenos Aires seven years ago, is a customer services team member for Wellington City Libraries. He came up with the idea after seeing a similar initiative overseas.

"I have a friend from the US and she sent me a podcast about the Seattle Public Library doing something similar to Book Bike and I thought it was a great idea," he says.

The Owhiro Bay resident was thrilled that his project had been approved and Book Bike is now in its second week of operation.

"Having an idea and then it turning into reality is great," he says.

"In the original concept in Seattle, they had a trailer and would build up a tent but we are biking along, approaching person after person, it's fun and it looks good."

Shaw says he thought the idea would help to promote libraries, after seeing that many people his age did not use them.

"I have friends who never really come here and they think the library is just some boring place where you get books.

"I've been coming here for many years, I now work here and I want to promote that this building has a lot to offer and want to make people aware of that."

Shaw's Book Bike partner Christiansen, also in the customer service team, said he thought Shaw's idea was "really cool" and wanted to be involved.

"I'm a cyclist and I quite like getting outside and we get to meet lots of new people, which is great."

The Mt Victoria resident says the feedback has been much more positive than he expected.

"A lot of people off cruise ships love it," he says.

"Initially we had a lot of Mills and Boon books but we noticed a lot of kids and families were out and they said they'd like some kids books so we got those in too. Now there's fiction, ebooks and travel books, which are are popular."

Readers can catch up with Shaw and Christiansen on the Book Bike on fine Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays along Wellington's waterfront from 1130am-1.30pm.

The Dominion Post