Book Bike seeking more riders to fill demand

Believe it or not, the Book Bike has already made appearances in 2014; on a blustery February day, all-weather-warrior Eric Litschel rode to John Carroll University.

The Book Bike, a three-wheeled cart stocked with free books, was a common sight around Cleveland Heights and University Heights last summer, appearing at festivals and parades, on campus at John Carroll University and other locations in the area. The Book Bike was started in 2013 by Sam Lapides, special projects coordinator at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library. Tasked with finding creative ways to expand outreach efforts, Lapides got the idea for a human-powered outreach vehicle from the Pima County Public Library in Arizona.

“It felt like a nice fit with the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, both of which are manageable by bicycle and have a history of supporting ‘out there’ ideas,” said Lapides. He e-mailed the idea to Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director, who responded with an image of an old ice cream vending bicycle and the words, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

In 2013, the Book Bike made appearances at 19 community venues. Volunteers and library staff members rode the bike to events such as Cain Park children’s concerts and summer family literacy events. “With one successful summer season already under its belt, the Book Bike is going to have a busy calendar this summer,” said Lapides.

With the bike sponsored by the Friends of the Heights Libraries and books supplied by the Friends and other outlets, including Half-Priced Books, the only thing the program needs is riders. For those interested in manning the Book Bike, or anyone looking for more information, Eric Litschel and Sam Lapides will be on the first floor of the Lee Road Library’s HKIC building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, to provide information about the project. The Book Bike will also be there for training rides for anyone interested in volunteering.

For more information, call Sam Lapides at 216-932-3600, ext. 290, or e-mail Register for the Book Bike information session at

Julia Murphy

Julia Murphy is the marketing assistant for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:38 PM, 03.31.2014