BoB – Books on Bikes

We are thrilled to welcome Tina Genay, teacher librarian at Quarles Elementary School, to the blog today. In May, Tina was the recipient of the American Association of School Librarians Innovative Reading Grant, for her bike bookmobile program. Tina has kindly taken time out from her busy BoB schedule to share with YouthScope the story behind BoB.

“At Quarles Elementary School we want to enable our students to read more during the summer months. As the Quarles Librarian, I wanted to get books into my students hands during the summer to promote a love of reading. I thought of a bike bookmobile program in which I would be able to combine my love of books and bikes.  

Tina Genay and her bookmobile.
Tina Genay and the Quarles bookmobile.

I began to search for existing bike bookmobile programs and discovered programs in Seattle, Portland, and Denver.  I was awarded a fellowship from Fund for Teachers to travel to these cities and observe their bike bookmobile programs.  During this travel, I met with Denver’s Public Library’s bike bookmobile program when it was at a Comic Con Convention.  I saw Seattle’s Public Library bike bookmobile use of a light weight pull behind carts to manage the hills of that city.

Tina exploring existing bookmobile programs.
Tina exploring existing bookmobile programs.

 In Portland, I observed a non-profit bike bookmobile program called Street Books biking books into the hands of the homeless population.

One of the bookmobiles Tina encountered on her travels.
One of the bookmobiles Tina encountered on her travels.

 Armed with my new knowledge gained by visiting existing bike bookmobile programs, I headed to the American Library Association Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada where I received the Innovative Reading Grant from Capstone and AASL.

Tina with her AASL Innovative Reading Grant award.
Tina with her AASL Innovative Reading Grant award.

 This award was given for the establishment of a school bike bookmobile program.  With this award, I was able to purchase over 740 new children’s books and with a beautiful cart donated by Bicycle Outfitters in Winchester, VA, I was ready to get started.  

The response of biking books into the students neighborhoods with my program Books on Bikes (BoB)  has been very exciting.  Interactions with neighbors have been positive as they call out a friendly greeting.  Students rush to BoB as if it was an ice cream truck eager to get a new book.  Parents and children are very appreciative of the books.  The greatest reward is knowing that these students are having access to reading material and are on their way to becoming lifelong readers.”

Tina at work in the community.
Tina at work in the community.

Congratulations Tina! This is such an exciting and rewarding program, and is a great reminder to us of all the hard work that goes on in our schools and libraries to support and encourage the development of the younger readers in our community.

I love the image of children rushing out to the bookmobile “as if it was an ice cream truck”! Just the thing to keep all our young readers motivated over the summer.

Check out today’s issue of the Winchester Star to see more pictures of Tina and BoB in action.

A very big thank you to Tina Genay for sharing her story with us, and for being such a champion of Winchester’s young readers. We wish you every success!



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