Happy Ending For Book Bike

By Marcus Gilmer in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 12, 2010 4:30PM

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A happy ending for the Book Bike
After all the drama last week over the fate of Gabriel Levinson's Book Bike, cooler heads have prevailed and we now have a happy ending. The Chicago Public Library, who's been fighting a battle of their own lately, reached out to Gabriel and the two parties have now become partners which will allow Gabriel to continue doing what he's been doing without having to pay the steep fees. In an email to Chicagoist, Gabriel said:

Recognizing that the Book Bike is able to reach people in places that the library cannot, and recognizing our shared love and passion for, well...as Ruth [Lednicer, CPL's Dir. of Marketing] wrote in a letter to me: "The Book Bike and the Library have a common goal -- bringing the joy of reading to people in every neighborhood of our city." The letter she wrote, which was sent to officials in the Park District, recognizes the Book Bike as a partner of the Chicago Public Library. This letter will allow me to keep the Book Bike rolling just as it always has, negating the need for any permits or fees, and without any compromise to the spirit and the mission of the Book Bike. The Library will be issuing me a Chicago Public Library "partner" badge of sorts that I can show to Park District officials should there be any questions in the future.

Gabriel has previously worked with the CPL to help distribute copies of the books for the city's One Book, One Chicago program, something he'll be doing again this year. Talking to Ruth Lednicer at the CPL, she said the letter to the Park District, who the CPL also partners with, was essentially a means of "vouching" for Gabriel. "We let the Park District know he comes with our 'blessing'... The Park District is very understanding, too, they're not trying to shut him down. But from their point of view, he's in a park around kids passing something out, they want to know who he is, what he's doing." Of Gabriel, Lednicer said, "He's great marketing for us because he goes where we don't necessarily go sometimes." Gabriel will again be helping CPL on the One Book, One Chicago program - Toni Morrison’s A Mercy - and potential further opportunities to work with the CPL. "We love what he does," said Lednicer. "The fact that he took this on as a single individual, the idea of getting books out to people and encouraging people to read for pleasure, it's exactly what we do and we will do nothing but try to help him spread the word."