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Pedaling Librarians Bring 'Books on Bikes' to Children and the Masses

If the Dewey Decimal system makes your head spin, this is the library for you.

If the Dewey Decimal system makes your head spin, this is the library for you.

For three years, Seattle librarians have been loading up customized bike trailers with books and pedaling them across town on bicycles, setting up tiny pop-up libraries in neighborhoods across the city.

They call the program "Books on Bikes."

“I’ve heard, ‘Oh, I’ve been meaning to bring my kid to the library, I just haven’t yet,’” said Betsy Kluck-Keil, one of the librarians bicycling books across town. “So we brought the library out.”

The librarians recently set up along the Puget Sound waterfront, in the shadow of Seattle’s giant ferris wheel. From here, kids and parents could check out books or sign up for a library card.

Children browse the books in a "Book On Bikes library"NBC News

While the selection was significantly smaller than what is found in a branch library – or even a bookmobile – kids seemed to have no problem finding something to read.

Atharva Patwardhan, 11, got an “Encyclopedia Brown” book.

Asked how much he loves to read, Atharva said, “From a scale of one to 10, I love it — 10!”

Librarian Jared Mills came up with the idea.

“There is something about seeing a librarian on a bike that brings a smile to people’s face,” Mills said. “It is amazing how a librarian can just sit down and start treading a book and kids will just flock.”

Mills is so passionate about reading, one of his favorite literature quotes – from the children’s book “Frederick” — is tattooed on his calf. Through the pop-up libraries, he hopes to share that passion with more kids.

Similar books-on-bikes programs have popped up in cities across the country, including Boston, Cleveland, Denver and San Francisco, which calls its miniature library the “Spoke and Word.”