Sterling Heights

New program allows patrons to check out a bike from the Sterling Heights Library

What’s happening: An innovative new program at the Sterling Heights Public Library is actually encouraging patrons to leave the library — well, for a couple hours at least. That’s because the Sterling Heights Library introduced their new Check Out a Bike program this July, where library card holders can borrow four bikes for up to two hours at a time. It’s just one more way that the library can offer free services that connect patrons to their community, says Amanda Itria, public relations and programs coordinator for the Sterling Heights Library.

How it works: Four bicycles — two adult bikes and two children’s bikes — are now available for check-out at the library on a first-come, first-served basis; the program is available to Sterling Heights Library card holders. Bikes are available in two-hour blocks and at least one person in the party must be 18-years-old or older. The library also has helmets and Dodge Park trail maps available.

Why it’s important: “We want to provide free services that educate and entertain. We can do that with books and movies, but we’re really trying to expand on what a library provides the community. We also have a strong emphasis on accessibility, so maybe a patron who doesn’t have a bike is at the library and now they can ride to Dodge Park right next door,” Itria says. “We want to expand what people think a library can provide.”

How it came to be: Itria says that the inspiration for the Check Out a Bike program came from other libraries that are starting to offer similar programs in different parts of the country. The Friends of the Sterling Heights Public Library organization helped fund the program, as well as a donation from the nearby Meijer on Van Dyke Avenue. Macomb Bike of Warren also partnered on the program.

Something to look forward to: “This is something that will return year after year, as long as we have the equipment and funding,” Itria says. “But we have such a strong Friends of the Library organization here that I don’t see why this program won’t only continue, but also expand.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.