Bibliotrike Aims to Provide At-Home Libraries
The custom tricycle, stocked with up to 300 children’s books, will visit parks and playground locations across the community in the spring and fall seasons. Each stop will include personalized interaction, reading aloud, and the opportunity for children to select a book to take home.
Buena Vista University’s School of Education has rolled out an innovative community literacy initiative with the launch of the “Book Beavers Bibliotrike.” The Bibliotrike is a custom tricycle that includes a front cargo box stocked with up to 300 children’s books. Its purpose is to encourage literacy by visiting area schools, parks, playgrounds, and more.
According to Dr. Callé Friesen, associate professor of education at BVU, the idea is to give children and adolescents the ability to start home library collections of their own.
“The aim is to visit public spaces where kids are present... we’ll have a program designed for them and their needs.”
Dr. Callé Friesen
“As a Storm Lake resident for more than 20 years, and as a literacy teacher in the community, I know there are many students in our town without home libraries,” says Friesen, who came up with the idea of the BVU Bibliotrike. “Having access to texts is one of the primary things we know fuels literacy. The best thing we can do is provide children with books they can take home and keep, helping them start a home library.”
The Bibliotrike will visit parks and playground locations across the community in the spring and fall seasons. Each 45-minute stop will include personalized interaction, in-depth discussion about book content, read alouds, and will conclude with the opportunity for children to select a book to take home.
“The aim is to visit public spaces where kids are present,” says Friesen. “Whoever is there, we’ll have a program designed for them and their needs. For example, we plan to visit community parks in the mornings and after school with stops at basketball and tennis courts in the evenings to host book talks with teens.”
In order to keep track of which genres are in demand, the cyclist operating the Bibliotrike keeps a running database of all of the books that have been distributed. “We want to know our audience and the types of books readers prefer,” says Friesen. “If we’re giving away a lot of mystery books to middle-school aged boys, we will know that is what’s in demand and what we need to acquire.”
The books that are housed in the Bibliotrike are donated by BVU community members, teachers, area residents, the library, sororities, local families, and more. This past fall, the School of Education jumpstarted the Bibliotrike’s book collection by hosting a book drive, meeting the goal of 1,000 books. Since then, ongoing book donations arrive regularly each week.
Once the books are received, Friesen and her students upcycle them to improve their overall condition. They also adhere a BVU sticker on the inside cover so readers know where the books came from.
Although the Bibliotrike visited a few area locations last fall, it is scheduled to make its official debut this spring. A Facebook page is also in the works, where visitors can view a listing of the Bibliotrike’s scheduled stops.
In the meantime, community members are encouraged to donate books any time by dropping them off at the BVU School of Education located in Smith Hall on campus—near the west entrance to the Forum. Book genres that are in demand include: preschool board books, children’s picture books, middle-level novels, young adult literature, and Spanish or dual-language titles.
For more information about this new literacy initiative, contact Friesen at 712.749.2275 or Friesen@bvu.edu.