CML quietly won the 2019 Minerva Innovation Grant for our proposal to lend transportation solutions. We hoped to provide better access to vehicles, bikes and rides, by utilizing libraries’ function as a community hub with a desire to have people visit our location and hang out out at our site (perhaps while one’s transportation powered-up with electric power). We wanted to make this happen by partnering with local businesses and nonprofits to pay them for a certain number of patron vouchers. Learn more about our initial transportation proposal by checking out Hazel’s recent presentation to a number of librarians on this topic.

While researching the feasibility of a variety of transportation options to lend, we learned some details about already-existing transportation resources. For example, did you know that:

  • the Zipcars on Bowdoin’s campus can be rented by members of the public who sign up for an account?
  • that Mid-Coast Transportation operates in Brunswick & during COVID times for essential trips at substantially reduced costs to a taxi?
  • the Volunteer Transportation Network requires only 3 days advance notice to get you to essential appointments for free?
  • that some Mainers are letting neighbor’s rent their vehicles when not in use?
  • that prior to Covid-19, you could rent bikes and e-bikes from our local bike shops?

We discovered that lending transportation solutions is possible, and could, we think, increase access to newer technologies like electric vehicles as charging stations are rolled-out across the State. This past Spring we had hoped to partner with local ride sharing services and bike cycle rental programs to let our patrons borrow transportation with their library cards. Unfortunately,  right when we had planned to make some noise about this experiment, the 2019 Pandemic caused us to abandon our work on this topic for the year. However, we were able to to rework and resubmit our proposal to create a Plant Library as part of our Library of Things in 2021.

Stay tuned as we keep pushing the boundaries of what we can borrow and share.