In this article from American Libraries, Troy University in Alabama is featured because of their awesome new additions – six exercise bikes with tables for laptops that were purchased for student use!
Three bikes are available in the library’s student space at the main campus in Troy, and three are available at the university’s extension campus in Dothan, AL. The additions have been so popular and well-received that the university has ordered three more bikes and six elliptical machines that can be used under tables while students are seated!
Christopher Shaffer is the Dean of Library Services at the university and the one who brought the bikes to the library. He had several reasons for doing so, besides their addition being a very good conversation starter!
- Shaffer wanted to bring people back to the library to receive help finding accurate information – vitally important in this time of fake news and uninformed internet searches.
- He also hoped to combat Alabama’s obesity epidemic, an issue caused not only through unhealthy eating but also due to technology. Technology tends to lead to sedentary behavior, but Shaffer believes that these exercise machines can encourage more activity while still being able to view and work on a monitor.
- Finally, he hopes to change the perception of academic libraries, and turn them into a place where students want to spend time. He gave the example of checking out a movie and watching it on their computer while biking. He hopes that by embracing their academic library, students will be more open to other libraries in their future.
Through social media and national publications, this program has gotten a lot of positive feedback! At CMLE, we were excited to hear about it too! Since Minnesota winters can make outside activities challenging, and moving more is clearly linked to better health, we looked into the benefits of using a biking laptop desk. We are giving it a trial run at our Headquarters!
Stop by and check it out! Members can give the bike desk a try to see if it is something that would work for your library – for stress reduction, for workplace engagement, to help keep down health insurance costs, or just to try a new way to boost creativity at work.
Libraries set wonderful examples of innovation and ways to help their patrons, and we are happy to be a part of that!