Book Bike


Check out the video Bike BloNo made for the Book Bike in July 2013!








How you can help:

There are lots of way to help with the Book Bike:

  • We need riders! Take the book bike out to a park or event for the afternoon!
  • We can always use books! We have a special need for books in Spanish, board books (chunky books for the pre-readers,) children’s books/young adult chapter books (like Captain Underpants or The Babysitter’s Club), cookbooks, and hardcover adult books
Books can be donated at the WBRP office (call 829-1200) or by contacting Karen Schmidt at 309-824-2257 or

We welcome gently used or new books.
Our beginnings:

The West Bloomington Revitalization Program welcomes the Book Bike to West Bloomington and the rest of the Bloomington-Normal community.  Adapted from an idea developed by Chicagoan Gabe Levinson, the WBRP Book Bike visits our Bloomington farmer’s market each week and travels around our west side and other spots in our community to bring free books to children and adults.

The Book Bike is a 3-wheeled Worksman bike.  On its front platform is a book carrier that folds out into book shelving.  The WBRP stocks the bike with donations of new and gently used books from residents throughout our community.

Karen Schmidt, WBRP Board member, doubles as the roving repair person for the Book Bike

Karen Schmidt performs repairs on the Book Bike at the Downtown Bloomington First Friday event in May 2011

The Book Bike represents an integral part of the WBRP initiative to educate our youth and connect our community through reading and literacy efforts.  It reflects our commitment to sustainability and to individual connections that strengthen our sense of neighborhood and refresh our ties to one another.  Our expectation is that the Book Bike will be out in our community every weekend, weather permitting, and that we will continue to bring books and people together in happy and surprising ways.

The Book Bike is made possible by donations from Chris Koos and Vitesse Cycle; Mark Fagerland of Unique Design, who donated the design, material and labor for the custom-made book carrier; and several community donors, including Mike and Cindy Kerber, George and Myra Gordon, Karen Schmidt, and Earl and Carol Reitan.  The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Donor Advised Fund was instrumental in helping us meet our goal.

Karen Schmidt operating the Book Bike at the Westside Community Garden in Bloomington

She’s laughing now, but wait until Karen has to ride the bike home, uphill all the way!

With a full load of books, the bike is estimated to weigh some 200 pounds.  The WBRP is grateful to strong friends & neighbors, IWU students, McLean County Wheelers, the ISU Bike Club and other strong and hearty bike riders who are willing to help us get the Book Bike around.

The WBRP is happy to arrange visits by the Book Bike and looks forward to having celebrity readers throughout our community share the love of reading and the community connections that books bring to us.  To invite the Book Bike to your event, to volunteer as a reader, or to donate books, please call the WBRP office at 309-829-1200, or contact Karen Schmidt,

Thanks to CityWatch, here’s some footage of the Book Bike at the Farmer’s Market in June, 2011.

For more on the Book Bike concept, please visit and see the YouTube video that inspired our work:

You can find the Book Bike at the Downtown Bloomington Farmer’s Market every Saturday (weather permitting) from 9am until 11am. Come visit and pick up a free book or two!



 Posted by at 11:19 am