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Riding along with Ednita Kelly and her book bike




Children's librarian Ednita Kelly started the Los Angeles Public Library book bike program, delivering books to elementary schools in San Pedro.
Children's librarian Ednita Kelly started the Los Angeles Public Library book bike program, delivering books to elementary schools in San Pedro.
Sue Carpenter

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Ednita Kelly was already an avid cyclist when she decided to fuse her enthusiasm for two wheels with another of her passions -- books.  A children's librarian at the San Pedro branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, she's now known as the book biking librarian. 

"At the time, we were getting bike lanes here in town and a lot of poeple were saying negative things about people on bikes, so I thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice if they could see someone doing something good in the community on their bike,'" Kelly said. "On my regular bike, they would never know I was a librarian, so wouldn't it be cool to have a library bike."

We tagged along with Kelly recently as she packed up her book bike and pedaled off to Barton Hill Elementary School to show us how it works.

On a recent Wednesday, she filled the bike with about 100 pounds of books she would later donate to school children attending a family fun night -- books with titles like Cookie Dough Fun, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, Dracula's Last Birthday and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid. When I get that, the kids go crazy for that. That and dinosaurs," Kelly said, before latching the cargo compartment together, pumping up the bike's three tires and hitting the road.

2017 is the third year for the LA Public Library's book bike program. It started with Kelly's bike, but two more have since been added.

"People will honk and wave and say 'hi,'" Kelly says, describing public reaction. "Oh my gosh, they go crazy. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they'll stop in the middle of the street. They laugh, they yell, 'Oh my gosh, I love the library.' People will ask me if I have beer in here. They want to know if I'm selling ice cream."

Audio coming: player to hear the entire interview with Ednita Kelly