LOUISVILLE FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY ADDS BOOK BIKE TO ITS OUTREACH FLEET
LIBRARY FOUNDATION, PNC FOUNDATION HELP LFPL REACH UNDERSERVED
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (December 15, 2021) – The Louisville Free Public Library has a new set of wheels to take their services directly to patrons. The Library’s first Book Bike—made possible through partnership with the Library Foundation and a $150,000 grant from the PNC Foundation—was unveiled today at Jefferson County Public Schools’ Dawson Orman Education Center.
Librarians soon will pedal their way into Louisville communities to reach children at risk of falling behind in educational development. The new, bright yellow Book Bike is pedal-powered and comes equipped with an electric motor assist, an umbrella and plenty of storage for books.
“LFPL is committed to increasing childhood literacy scores in Louisville, and sometimes that means taking library services directly to children and families who lack transportation or access to a library,” said Library Director Lee Burchfield. “This bike will enable librarians to hand out free books, issue library cards via Wi-Fi enabled laptops, and offer pop-up Storytime and other programming directly to children at parks, bus stops, and community events.”
“If we are going to address the 30 million plus word gap between four-year-olds from typical middle class homes and those living in households with less means, we must begin by providing high-quality, developmentally appropriate books for young children,” said Rina G. Gratz, Executive Director of Early Childhood Programs for Jefferson County Public Schools. “This is especially true of those living in book deserts in our community, where access to printed material is limited, or non-existent, without transportation.”
Understanding how critical high-quality early childhood education is to ensuring the growth of the community, and ultimately the Kentucky economy, the PNC Foundation grant will help the LFPL deliver library services directly to children and families who lack transportation or access to a library. The grant covers the cost of the bicycle along with providing books, safety gear, a laptop computer, and WiFi connectivity. The Book Bike is aligned with PNC’s $500 million early childhood education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great®. This multi-year initiative helps prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
“At PNC, we know it is never too early to invest in a child’s education, knowing that providing children a solid foundation early in life will pay dividends in the local economy in the long-term,” said Chuck Denny, PNC regional president for Louisville. “Our investment in the Book Bike is an innovative way to make library services nimbler, while increasing equity and access for every Louisvillian.”
With only half of Jefferson County preschoolers testing ready for kindergarten and just 35% of fourth graders scoring at or above proficient in reading, the Book Bike is a welcome tool as LFPL continues working to provide equitable access to education and programs.
“The Book Bike is another example of how our libraries are building a healthier and stronger Louisville,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Innovative programs like this support our core value of lifelong learning and will help us reach even more children with resources that will set them on a path for success. Projects like this are possible when the community comes together for lifelong learning.”
“While this is Louisville’s first Book Bike, we don’t think it will be the last,” added Chandra Gordon, Executive Director of the Library Foundation. “We are excited to help build a fleet of libraries on wheels to increase equity and access for every Louisvillian.”
ABOUT PNC FOUNDATION
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit http://www.pncgrowupgreat.com.
Louisville Free Public Library connects the residents of Louisville and Jefferson County to knowledge and information at our library locations and on the web at LFPL.org. Come on in, the whole world’s inside.
The Library Foundation strives to ensure every Louisvillian has the tools, resources, and information they need to flourish in their community and their lives by opening the doors for community members to engage with, advocate for, and dedicate time and treasure to the Louisville Free Public Library. Learn more at LFPLfoundation.org.