Book bike will take library for a ride

This book bike inspired a Pima County librarian to bring one to Tucson. Photo courtesy of Photo by David Miller Photography.

The Pima County Library is putting a new spin on the book mobile. The newest vehicle in its fleet has one less wheel and a giant sunroof.

The library’s new book bike will make its debut this winter.

The books on the bicycle library will be free for people to take. Library cards and information about library services will also be provided. The idea is to educate people who may not have been to the library in a long time.

The bike is Pima County librarian, Karen Greene’s project. She said she first wanted to do it more than a year ago when a friend forwarded her a link about the Chicago book bike.

Greene hopes to ride it to various events throughout the city. Photo courtesy of Gabriel Levinson/

“I was really excited about it, but then I got caught up in life,” she said.

The book bike was shelved for more than a year until Green read Mia Birk’s book “Joy Ride,” which inspired her.

“I said, ‘I want to be Mia Birk, but since I can’t be Mia Birk, what can I do to make a difference in Tucson using bikes?’ I wanted to do more for the cycling community and the community at large.

Greene secured $4,000 from a state grant aimed at funding special projects for libraries across Arizona.

The bike is being made by Haley Tricycles in Philadelphia, which made the Chicago book bike. Green is planning some customizations, including an umbrella to provide shade.

The bike will be ridden by Pima County and City of Tucson staff as well as Pima County Bicycle Ambassadors.

Photo courtesy of Gabriel Levinson/

Matt Zoll, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, said the ambassadors will ride the bike to various events around the region.

Greene said the ambassadors would likely ride it the most — between 40 and 60 hours a month.

Greene said she envisions the bike going to various big events like Tucson Meet Yourself and more. She is hoping to debut the book bike at the Festival of Lights in December.

In addition to events,  she said she, “would like to try to setup some kind of regular schedule like the book mobile, but it would be the book bike.”

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Need Help....Have alot of books to give away....They are all in good condition....Have any idea who I could call to have someone to come and pick them up? 


How can a Kindle kill off literacy when by definition people are using it to READ books. Even if it ceases to be a fad, literacy skills aren't going to plummet...

Frank Tellez
Frank Tellez

So... if I'm overdue on a book will they come to my house and pick it up? :) What if I reserve a book will they deliver it? It's a good idea. There are lots of outdoor activities in Tucson all year long. Parades, outdoor festivals, street fairs etc.. It'll get the library some good publicity so maybe people will read more before the Kindle kills off literacy in America when it goes out of fad.


"The books on the bicycle library will be free for people to take. "


Karen will be giving a presentation on the book bike at the next BAC meeting on September 14. Meeting starts at 6pm Himmel Park Library; Karen's presentation will probably begin a little before 7pm.


I love bikes, I love books - library tricycle, not so much. 

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

The library only allows patrons to check 25 books out at a time. Which means that if bibliophiles on bikes spot this cart, its stock could get wiped out pretty fast. BTW, my personal best for carrying books in my panniers is about 15 books. And, yes, I do read them all. (No teevee at Martha's house. Teevee takes too much time away from reading.)