San Mateo County

Mobile Libraries Span Out Across Peninsula, Offer Free Books and Checkouts

Today, it’s books. Tomorrow — 3D printing and WiFi hot spots?

San Mateo County unveiled six new mobile libraries in August, which have since been spotted at transit hubs, markets and community events in several cities on the Peninsula.

The Book Bike program offers both English and Spanish reading materials and are expected to build on the existing Bookmobile initiative, a trailer which currently visits markets with children's books and activities. 

Kenny Gabe, who rides one of the traveling libraries, says the East Palo Alto library has used its bike to distribute roughly 5,000 free books to families as part of its summer reading program. 

"Any chance we get to do something in the community, sign me up," Gabe said.

He says the new fleet offers chances to spotlight less-known San Mateo County Libraries' services, including a 3-D printing space, a laptop vending machine and WiFi hotspots. 

"Its opening more eyes to the free services we offer here for our community, so I think that’s huge," Gabe said. "I’ve been bringing this out to all around town — places that aren’t necessarily walking distance from our library."

On Wednesday, Gabe rode a book-laden bike to a weekly farmer’s market at Ravenswood Family Health Center to meet families as they waited in line to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. He expects to soon install a hotspot on the cart in order to bring WiFi to local parks and community gatherings.

"You can check out books, you can check out hotspots, you can check out laptops — we can bring the 3D printer," Gabe said. "It's bringing the library outside of the four walls of our current space."

The Bookmobile and fleet of Book Bikes can be seen in El Granada, Half Moon Bay, La Honda, San Carlos, and Woodside, among other San Mateo County cities, according to the service's website. 

Upcoming Stops:

  • Aug. 26 at San Carlos Caltrain Station
  • Aug. 27 at Burton Park in San Carlos
  • Sept. 9 and 10 at Stand Down San Mateo

For more information about the bike program, visit the library's website or call 650-207-4426.

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