Union County Library visitors can now check out bikes as well as books.
The library is now offering a free bike check-out program, which provides a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy the 44-mile Tanglefoot Trail, which runs right by the library.
The 26 bikes are currently stored inside the library, but efforts are underway to raise money to build a facility next to the library to house the bikes.
Plans have already been drawn up for the bike storage and repair facility, which would cost an estimated $14,000. Donors, including businesses and individuals, are being sought to make contributions toward the bike storage facility. The city of New Albany is providing $2,000 toward the facility, leaving about $12,000 left to raise.
The bikes that can be checked out at the library were donated by a number of individuals and businesses. Bike donors included Blake and Alyson Roberts with Roberts Trucking; Michael Brown with Renasant Bank; New Albany State Farm Agent Pam Brown; Lynn and Sandra Roberson; Walmart; and others.
There were also 40 helmets donated by the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services. Volunteer bicycle maintenance has been provided by Terry Fooshee and Charles Reid.
Blake Roberts with Roberts Trucking said he wanted to support the program because, “We're trying to broaden our horizons here in New Albany. We've got a nice trail for people to ride and see the scenery all the way to Houston.”
Hopefully, one day the trail can be extended north to the Tennessee line, Roberts added.
Likewise, Michael Brown with Renasant Bank said the bicycle check-out program provides a way for people who do not have their own bikes to use the trail. Also, people who may visit the town for the weekend may like to check out a bike to see the trail, he noted.
New Albany State Farm Agent Pam Brown said, “I'm so proud to be a part of it.” There are bikes available for children and adults.
Alyson Roberts with Roberts Trucking said the bike check-out program has been perfect for people who do not have bikes and will help people who cannot afford their own bikes.
Sandra Roberson agreed, saying the program was much needed, and now underprivileged people who cannot afford a bike can ride the trail.
Union County Library System Director Sissy Bullock said she is “overwhelmed with the support that has been given to us. Everybody has been so generous and so nice. It's been 100 percent donations. It hasn't cost us anything.”
Many people are checking out the bikes, and around 135 were checked out in July. On Wednesday morning a group of children came into the library to check out bikes.
Checking out a bike requires a library card and a form of ID, which is left at the library desk.