Carson City’s Pedal Library, ‘Big Red’

The Carson City Library has made a recent addition to their inventory that has caught the attention of library patrons and a few people outside the library as well. That new addition is a bike trailer that has been seen around town carrying books. It’s a “Pedal Library” of sorts that will serve the public at events around Carson City. ‘Big Red’ as it’s being referred to, not only carries books, but it also provides a few basic services. You’ll be able to register for a library card, check out and return books, charge your mobile device, and hook up to their free WiFi.

I recently asked a few questions of Natalie Wood, the Creative Learning Manager at the Carson City Library and Phyllis Patton, president of the Friends of the Carson City Library, regarding the new bike trailer.

Oprah Riding
Opra the Owl riding around Mills Park with ‘Big Red’ the pedal library. Photo by Cathleen Allison/Nevada Photo Source

Randy: First of all, where did the idea for the Pedal Library come from? Tell me about what sparked the idea and what steps you took once you decided that you wanted to make this a reality.

Natalie: Sena Loyd, our Library Director, and Diane Baker, our Business Manager, attended the Public Library Association conference in 2016 where they saw the Burgeon Group and a Pedal Library. Sena shared a post about the Pedal Library and the idea of implementing one at the Carson City Library with me. We moved forward with a proposal to our Friends of the Library to implement the program. Our goals were to increase circulation, community engagement, and increase library participation in Carson City through the Pedal Library. It seemed to be a great fit with the trends and lifestyle in Carson City.

Randy: I understand that the Pedal Library cost $17,000 and that the Friends of the Carson City Library paid for the whole thing. There was no grant money provided or assistance from the City’s budget at all. Is it common for the Friends to spend this much money on a project? What made the Pedal Library so attractive that they were willing to pay for the entire thing? Tell me a little bit about how you presented the proposal to the Friends and what their initial reaction was like when they heard the price.

Natalie: The Friends of the Library provide regular financial support to the Carson City library. I created a project proposal with our goals and objectives and presented it to the Friends during one of their meetings last summer. I think it would be best for the Friends to answer this one…

Phylliss: Natalie brought a picture of a Pedal Library to one of our board meetings last summer and we all thought it was really cute and cool. We also thought it would be a great boon to Carson City to have something like this to be seen around town. The opportunities to take the Pedal Library to different events and venues around town would help get out to the community what all the library has to offer the community. It would also keep the community informed as to what events are happening at the library as well as what the Friends have on their calendar. Once we decided to fund the project, we came up with all kinds of ideas of where it could go!

It is common for the Friends to fund this kind of project for the library. We typically give them between $50,000 and $80,000 a year to fund different things at the library. Sometimes it is programs, sometimes it is furnishings and we always fund the leased book contract, Summer Learning program and National Library Week. A lot of our funds go towards matching funds for the grants they get.

CC Lib - pedal lib unveiling
Phyllis Patton, president of the Friends of the Carson City Library, center, speaks at a ceremony unveiling the library’s new Pedal Library at the Capitol, in Carson City, Nev., on Monday, April 10, 2017. Friends of the Carson City Library bought the $17,000 trailer and bike for the library to help expand their outreach in the community. The Pedal Library can hold up to 60 pounds of books and offers a mobile WiFi and charging station. Photo by Cathleen Allison/Nevada Photo Source

Randy: How long did it take to go from idea to delivery of the trailer? Talk about the company that produced the trailer and what interaction and input you had on the design of the end product. How did the Bike Smith get involved with the project and what was it like working with them? Was anyone else involved in producing the end product that you received?

Natalie: The project proposal occurred in July 2016 and once approved by the Friends of the Library, I worked with the Burgeon Group to move forward to ensure that we would have it by April 2017. Pedal Libraries are still a new concept and they do take some time to manufacture. Burgeon has been great to work with and provided connections to other libraries that have already implemented a Pedal Library like Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library in IL. Burgeon had been making improvements on models as they go and through feedback from libraries; it is still a new venture for the library world. Burgeon has a base model with options for upgrades; We were the first library to choose red for our Pedal Library! I reached out to The Bike Smith early on and they were on board from the first conversation. They also gave us a great deal on the red 2016 Specialized Sirrus. We have had great support from everyone and anyone that has heard about the Pedal Library to include NV Photo Source, CCVB, Muscle Powered, Health and Human Services, NDOT, and the public.

Randy: Now that the Pedal Library has been official unveiled, what has the public’s reaction been like? Tell me about the experience at the Legislature. What was the event that brought the Pedal Library there in the first place and what have people been saying about it when they see it? Does anyone stop and talk to you about it when you take it out for a ride around town?

Natalie: The first time that I rode the Pedal Library from The Bike Smith to the Carson City Library I had cars honking at me, children pointing and waving, and people on the street asking if they could hitch a ride. Patrons at the library have been very interested in the Pedal Library and the common feedback is that it is awesome. We took the Pedal Library to the Legislature for Library Legislative Day on Wednesday, April 12 to promote libraries in Nevada. April 12 is National Bookmobile Day; bookmobiles provide library service to populations that are otherwise unable to access library materials and resources.

CC Lib - pedal lib unveiling
The Carson City Library’s new Pedal Library at the Capitol, in Carson City, Nev., on Monday, April 10, 2017. Photo by Cathleen Allison/Nevada Photo Source

One thought on “Carson City’s Pedal Library, ‘Big Red’

  1. I think this is awesome! as a person who was hit by a car while bicycling when I was a kid just make sure t Owl stays safe. I wouldn’t want the outfit to cause an accident. 😊

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