Stories carried by pedal power

The Fernie Heritage Library is fundraising for a book bike.

The Fernie Heritage Library is fundraising for a book bike.

The Fernie Heritage Library is fundraising for a book bike.

By Anie Hepher – Fernie Heritage Library

A yellow house with green wooden shutters.

An apple orchard and just behind it, hills of great adventure.

A sandbox, and a cardboard box, the latter always seemingly full of kittens.

My mom’s abiding love for all things puppet theatre and plasticine.

My father’s rumbling songs in the car and his clear voice for reading a story aloud.

These are the tent pegs that grounded my childhood and kept it from flying away. These are the ingredients that still taste most familiar and best. The last two have been pivotal in all the jobs I have ever had. Especially the job I hold currently. As community programmer at the Fernie Heritage Library, I am given the task to keep stories alive. I regularly get to revisit the creative wonder of childhood; it is like a daily vitamin regimen and I love it. Even the intense chaos of a Tuesday after-school library club, with kids launching their lego rockets, totally fires my turbo blasters.

I grew up in rural Austria in a large family, with a student father and a creative, resilient mother. Our first bike came to us on the train. Singular. One bike. It was a hand-me-down from cousins in northern Germany. It was red and we had to share it. The event of its arrival is a part of my family’s narrative.

Even now, every spring, when the bikes come out of our garage, I experience the feeling I had when my brother first let go of me and I pedalled by myself on that red bike. The complete freedom and independence after a winter of walking the snow boot shuffle. We are suddenly sailing into a new season. The season of seeds planted, laundry lines and garden furniture bravely returning to the yard.

This spring I am anticipating something that brings stories and bike riding together. It is the perfect combination. The reinvention of PB and J. The library is fundraising for a book bike. Stories carried by pedal power on the roads, alleys, and into parks. I am so excited that I can barely keep from asking most folks I meet, “have you heard about the Fernie Book Bike?” Besides the fact that I get to ride it, I am thrilled about the potential it holds. Books delivered to seniors; story-times, puppets and singing at Rotary Park or the new Max Turyk playground; paperback book swaps at the Sunday social downtown for tourists.

The Fernie Book Bike is a very personal wonder for me. It represents the simple yet complete connection of a story delivered. In a world of online transaction and screen communication, we want to present you, our little mountain town, with a lime green, three-wheeled, pant leg tucked in, old-school, friendly library service.

Donations to the Fernie Heritage Library’s Book Bike Project will be accepted at the library or online at