Napa County’s library system has a new branch – and this one travels on five bicycle wheels.
Called a “bike branch,” the portable, foldable and mobile operation was created to reach more people and expand library services for both locals and visitors.
“We go out into the community quite a bit,” said Director of Library Services Danis Kreimeier.
Until now, library staffers relied on carrying or toting boxes or bags of books and supplies to any such event or gathering. A bike branch will make it easier to get the library to events – and hopefully more of them.
The new bike branch certainly has "the fun factor,” said Kreimeier.
For one thing, it’s painted bright green and includes an orange front rack – matching the colors of the library logo. The trailer part of the bike branch was designed by a former library staffer and graphic designer Michelle Hogan.
It features colorful drawings of books, instruments, equipment and other resources that the library now provides.
With such an eye-catching design, and on wheels, “how can you not be curious?” about the bike branch, Kreimeier asked.
The trailer opens to reveal space for books and other items. Assisted by a built-in electric motor, the bike is easy to pedal. The bike branch even includes a Wi-Fi hotspot.
It’s not a bookmobile, but depending on the event or gathering, the bike branch may stock some books. The contents of the bike branch will depend on the event itself, the library staff said.
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For example, if the bike branch is going to an Earth Day gathering, it might bring topically related books, handouts or other materials. “Whatever we can think of,” said Kreimeier.
The bike branch could tote musical instruments or devices such as binoculars, telescopes, arts and crafts and game night supplies or even Friends of the Napa Library books.
“The library is so much more than books now,” said Ann Davis, head of children's services at the Napa library.
Napa County Library Assistant Director Anthony Halstead said he thinks the bike branch will get more people involved in it. Instead of setting up a regular folding table and setting out brochures at an event, a bike branch is unusual enough to draw people in, he said.
“It creates a conversation,” said Kreimeier.
Napa’s new bike branch was funded by a $15,000 grant from the state of California Library Services and Technology Act and a $10,000 donation from the Kreider family of Napa. Working through the Napa Bicycle Coalition, the custom eight-speed bike was designed by Jeremy Sycip of Sonoma County.
The bike branch is dedicated to Mark Kreider, a Napa cyclist, who died in 2014.
Kreider is Davis’ brother.
“The bike branch is the perfect way to honor him,” said Davis.
Locals can see the bike branch at the Napa Farmers Market this Saturday, Oct. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the South Napa Century Center, 195 Gasser Drive, in Napa.