New Perspectives on Book Borrowing

With the ease of access afforded by e-readers, many folks choose to turn away from actual books these days. Although some studies suggest a decrease in digital obsession, real books have, largely, been replaced by their sleek, interactive, and convenient cousin. This innovation provides consumers with vast options for their next read at the simple swipe of a screen. To combat the advent of e-readers, though, some communities seek to increase access to paper reading materials. Here are a few ways South Bethlehem is keeping real books alive and available.

Bookie Monster

Bethlehem residents can avail themselves of the lending services offered by both branches of the Bethlehem Area Public Library (BAPL). However, BAPL effectively moves beyond the standard brick-and-mortar library model by offering two particularly unusual lending options: “Bookie Monster” and EZ Lend. Bringing books to the general public, Bookie Monster is the official name of BAPL’s Bookmobile. According to the library’s website, this service offers a selection of about 2,000 books during any given visitation to one of its stops throughout nearby Lehigh Valley communities.

Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Area Public Library

This service enables residents to borrow books and select other library materials without traveling. In bringing literature to residents, Bookie Monster likely aids enrichment opportunities for some of our community’s elderly, homebound, and others who may be unable to reach the library on their own.

EZ Lend

Alternatively, EZ Lend denotes a literary vending machine located at the Hanover Township Community Center. While situated outside of South Bethlehem’s borders, this lending service exists under the greater BAPL umbrella. The EZ Lend system enables users to swipe library cards in lieu of inserting coins, receiving books instead of snacks. Its location in a community center contributes to ease of access. Parents bringing toddlers to swim lessons at the center can pick up a poolside read or, perhaps, adult members leaving their art classes can borrow a book to bring home. The EZ Lend system makes use of the center’s regularly scheduled classes; with people constantly moving in and out of the building, borrowing and returning books remains hassle-free.

Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Area Public Library

Little Free Library

Some local businesses also recognize the appeal of circulating literature in the community. An East 4th Street eatery, Cafe The Lodge thrives on humanitarianism (read more about it here). Social engagement is a hallmark of The Lodge, as evidenced by its calendar of artistic events geared towards recovery through self-expression. In the spirit of bringing folks together, The Lodge features a free library just off of the location’s back patio. The miniature library invites visitors to “Take a Book, Leave a Book,” as per the mentality behind the Little Free Library initiative. This small structure poses limitless possibilities for your next read — maybe your new favorite novel has just been left for you to find.

Above photo and article feature image courtesy of Sam Randall.

Next time you’re on a search for a great, tangible read, seek out some of these unusual book borrowing sources. The South Bethlehem community is eager to provide its residents and visitors with books; you just have to know where to look. And if you’ve encountered other ways to borrow books in South Bethlehem, tell us about it in the comments below.

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