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A Bibliobike appearance at Ravenswing DIY Arts + Music Fair. Photo by Jessica Green.

Librarian-in-Residence: All about the Bibliobike

By Jessica Green on July 31, 2016

Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips.

Photo by Jessica Green.

Photo by Jessica Green.

You may be wondering what exactly a ‘Bibliobike’ is? This is the brainchild of my colleague Alison Smedley, where she has created a mini-library that can be hauled around by a bicycle. A library on wheels is a perfect fit for bike-crazy Ottawa. The idea isn’t unique as bikemobiles have been started in other North American cities but it’s still not a common service. We may also be the first city in Ontario to have one running this year!

Alison created a very neat modular display in partnership with the Ottawa Tool Library and some great DIY skills which you can see in the following picture. It is sturdy enough to display a variety of books and folds up small enough to fit onto a bike trailer. 

Much like coming into a branch, when you spot the Bibliobike in the wild, you can get a library card, borrow anything we have at the event, learn about our online resources like Zinio or, and even get a paperback to take home.

We launched our Bibliobike at the Ravenswing Art + Music Fair earlier this summer, so you may have seen us already at Glowfair or at many other events. We’ll be out and about (weather-permitting) at many downtown events through the rest of the summer.  Keep track of the BiblioBike by following OPL on twitter.  If you are looking for the best way to join us at any event, don’t forget you can consult the Cycling Map for Ottawa-Gatineau. When you see us, share your experience and use the tag #OPLBiblioBike.

The Bibliobike at Percy Station (Somerset St W). Photo by Jessica Green.

Quick Picks:

Born to Walk: the Transformative power of a Pedestrian Act by Dan Rubenstein

I dawdled over opening this book which was a mistake as it was absolutely fascinating. Rubenstein has great analysis of how walking is almost a forgotten element in many things like fitness and city planning, but if it becomes the focus, it can improve the health of the person or city. I have such a list of books to read based on what was mentioned in the book. This is a great read by a local author!

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey 

Bailey’s world got very small as she was in the full throes of some sort of mysterious encephalitis, so a friend found a snail and placed it by her bedside. Bailey contented herself with watching and discovering what the snail did in the small terrarium, as she could no longer go outside her room.  You’d never think a book about someone bedridden discussing her observations on a wild snail, to be intriguing, but it is terribly engrossing.

Red One – Welcome to America by Xavier Dorison

Set in the 1970s, Vera Yelnikov is trying to become the great American superhero but she’s really a top agent for the Kremlin, sent to spy on the USA. As Alabama Jones, she has to hold down a day job, work for the Kremlin and figure out who the serial killer called the Carpenter really is. A fun read with fabulous artwork!