ArtsCommunity News

Library services to be pedalled out to the community

New funding means staff can get out and about by bike

Main image courtesy of Bristol City Council.

Pedal power will soon be helping Bristol Libraries to take books and storytelling out into the community – thanks to new Arts Council funding.

The Words on Wheels project will mean the library team can go out and target people who don’t currently visit libraries – using three newly purchased cargo bikes.

Their versatile design means the library service can tailor the contents of the bikes to suit the type of event they attend.

They can accommodate big books, blankets and cushions for a cosy story-time in a park – or internet enabled tablets and books on writing CVs for a pop up job fair on the high street.

“The library can now come to you…”

Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Bristol’s libraries, Cllr Asher Craig, said: “No longer are Bristol Libraries bound by their buildings, waiting for you to visit; the library can now come to you.

“Using cargo bikes will allow us to take our services on the road in a clean and sustainable way, that will not have a negative impact on the city.

“We are very grateful for this opportunity to expand our outreach programme and we are very excited to be setting off on a new, bold venture with Words on Wheels, pedalling services to the people of Bristol. Keep an eye out for one of our bikes coming to an event near you!”

The first part of the Words on Wheels project will involve groups working with local artists, including Upfest, to design eye catching graphics for the bikes. This will help promote reading and library services wherever they go about the city.

Once ready for the road, the bikes – acting as mini, mobile, pop-up libraries – will start touring and attending major events such as Harbourfest and Picnic in the Park. They will be supported by professional storytellers, circus performers and writers. 

The Words of Wheels project has been funded thanks to an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant.