Public libraries will become hubs of bicycling safety across Wisconsin through Bike to the Library Week, from Sunday, June 19, to Saturday, June 25.
In its second year, the education program has expanded to include nearly 70 libraries, helping both the libraries and the Wisconsin Bike Fed combine their strengths as resources for transportation literacy.
“We’re able to get the information to the places where people are going to be,” said Carolyn Dvorak, a Bike Fed Share & Be Aware Ambassador, based in La Crosse. “We’re a very good resource.”
Wisconsin Bike Fed Share & Be Aware Ambassadors will provide bike safety presentations throughout the week and encourage patrons to ride bikes for exercise and learning. Donated helmets will be distributed as prizes to those who roll up to the doors throughout the week. Participating libraries can be found here.
Individual libraries have creative events planned, from bicycle decorating exhibits to workshops from local advocates and authors.
Every one who bikes to a participating library will receive a bookmark and an entry for the prize drawings. Prizes include a bike rack, tire pumps, light sets and reflective vests donated by Saris Cycling Group and Planet Bike, both based in Wisconsin.
Terry Ross, a former librarian, created the Bike to the Library program in 2015, working with the Division of Continuing Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She believes the libraries and bicycling safety information are a perfect pairing. The goal is to make more people comfortable riding bikes to libraries and beyond.
“Like a lot of people who work with trying to create a biking community, the issue is safety,” Ross said. “The more people get information and practice and are around people biking, they feel safer, and I think they will bike more often.”
Michelle Gobert, director of the Crandon Public Library, will use Bike to the Library Week to show off a new bike path in her northern Wisconsin city. All four libraries in Forest County will participate, with hopes that some ambitious patrons will tour from Laona to Waubeno to Crandon.
“This is another way we’re working together to promote wellness in Forest County,” Gobert said. “Our shared vision is a healthy, literate Forest County.”
With Bike to the Library expanding to more towns and growing from one day to one week, Ross has ambitions to replicate the model around the country. She has contacted the American Library Association to pitch her efforts to expand her approach to transportation literacy beyond the Badger state.
Bike Books Short List:
In keeping with the Bike to the Library Theme, here is a Bike Fed list of books on biking.
- “Bicycle Diaries” by David Byrne – The lead singer of the Talking Heads, Byrne “chronicles his observations and insights – what he is seeing, whom he is meeting is meeting, what he is thinking about — as he pedals through and engages with some of the world’s major cities.”
- “Catfish and Mandala” by Andrew X. Pham – “the story of an American odyssey – solo bicycle voyage around the Pacific Rim to Vietnam – made by a young Vietnamese-American man in pursuit of both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland.”
- “Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin Became a Great Bicycling State” by Jesse J. Grant and Nicholas J. Hoffman. “Wheel Fever” is about the origins of bicycling in Wisconsin and why those origins still matter, but it is also about our continuing fascination with all things bicycle.”
- “Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road,” by James Longhurst: The Wisconsin-based historian tracks the contentious debates between people who drive cars, ride bikes and walk on our shared roads.