Mass. Library Lets Patrons Check Out Bikes

The Fitchburg Public Library has seven bikes that it loans to visitors

You'll find fiction and mysteries, science and travel books stacked on the shelves of the Fitchburg Public Library in Massachusetts. But you'll also find something a little unexpected.

"They've been surprised when they walk in the front door and see bikes sitting in the lobby," Fitchburg Public Library Director Sharon Bernar said.

It's a "bike-brary," if you will, where you can check out a bicycle, along with you library books.

"We have seven bikes that we actually loan, and they go out for one week to adults, they have to have a library card, 18 and older," Bernard said.

Anyone who wants to take a bike out just has to sign a waiver, and if you don't return it in a week, there are fines, just like with an overdue library book.

"If they don't return them, you can't check anything else out, either, so there's incentive to bring them back," said Bernard.

All the bikes have been donated, along with some spare parts for repairs.

The Friends of the Library even donated 10 bike helmets and locks for each bike.

"Everything has come back so far, knock on wood," Bernard said.

The program started in September, and so far, it's been pretty popular with patrons.

"I feel like that's really helpful to people, because in Fitchburg, there's a lot of people that don't have cars and there's a lot of people that walk around," said Stephanie Georges. "That would be really helpful to people so they could just get around."

"You can just lend a bike, and boom, there we go," added Abubaker Alwahab. "You don't have to pay for a whole bike."

"I think a lot of people are going to take advantage of that, especially if it's free and you don't have to pay for it," said Kayla Keaveny of Fitchburg.

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