The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced that 33 projects will be receiving newly awarded grant funding to help libraries meet the needs of their communities in the wake of the pandemic.
The DPI released the list of subawards for library relief funding, totaling over $3 million, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The ARPA funds, awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will be distributed to 10 public libraries and 15 library systems. The funds are to be used for supporting digital inclusion efforts, providing rapid emergency relief to libraries, and supporting library services that meet the needs of local communities.
The Boulder Junction Public Library is using the ARPA funds to purchase a book bike. The book bike will be used to pedal out into the community to market library services, register people for library cards, check out library materials, and distribute free books to children.
Dates and locations of book bike visits will be announced as soon as the library knows when the book bike will be delivered from the manufacturer, Haley Tricycles, and they have enough time to get it ready to ride. The library is hoping the bike will arrive in time for the 4th of July parade. The book bike will be outfitted with an umbrella for sunny days, a hot spot for internet access, an iPad for creating new records and checking out materials, and plenty of storage for books and materials.
Book bikes — many of which are technically tricycles with a cargo trailer — have been steadily rising in popularity over the past decade. The Boulder Junction Public Library, located on the Heart of Vilas paved bike trail, feels the book bike is a valuable library outreach vehicle that will help connect the community with books, materials, and services.