With a little help from Healthy Central Florida, Winter Park is now one of the first municipalities in Central Florida to have a public library with a free bike share program. This marks a growing trend for public libraries to be providing services beyond book lending, as they branch out and dabble more in the community or neighborhood center service arena.
The new Bicycle Checkout Program hosts seven bright yellow single-speed, coaster-break cruisers and one tandem for anyone holding a library card to use free of charge. According to Alex Copeland (Rollins College graduate), WPPL's Special Projects Assistant and resident bicycle and design wizard, each bike comes with a basket and a helmet and the library will be launching bicycle safety classes in the near future. Visitors staying at the fancy new Alfond Inn and Rollins College students will also be able to check out a bike by showing their room and student cards at the front desk.
The nod to Rollins is fitting as Rollins College provided the template for WPPL's new program. Rollins College was one of the first institutions in the region to dip it's toes into the bike share pool back in 2009, under the stewardship of Environmental Studies Guru Ann Francis and her eco-posse of Sustainability Coordinators (which Copeland and myself participated in while attending night school there). The Rollins Bike Share Program provides free bikes for students, staff and faculty to use by showing their R-Card at the circulation desk in the Olin Library. Where the Rollins bikes can be taken out for three days, the WPPL ones are a one-day rental and have to be returned by 4 pm at the close of their business hours.