Forbes worker delivers books by bike to shut-ins BY MEGHAN WELSH View all co mments (2) [ Originally published on: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 ] NORTHAMPTON - Adam Novitt's bike, once just a symbol of leisurely enjoy ment for him, has become essential in the lives of many senior citizens in Northampton and Florence. Novitt, a Fo rbes Library emp loyee, has been delivering library materials to homebound members of the commun ity on his bicycle for CAROL LOLLIS over a year now. Adam Novitt uses his bicycle to take a load of books from He visits about 40 people weekly, toting books, magazines, videos, and CDs behind his bike in Forbes Library to Rockridge a small t railer capable of carrying up to 70 Retirement Community, where pounds. he then distributes them to residents. This week when Novitt stopped at Rockridge Enlarge photo | Buy photos Retirement Co mmunity to make deliveries, residents were eager to see what new books he was carting. Muriel Jenks, his first visit, looked up and smiled when Novitt knocked and entered her roo m. ''Were last week's books OK? Did you like this one?'' Novitt said, hold ing up a book and placing another stack down next to Jen ks' chair. ''I brought you another one this time that I thoug ht you would enjoy.'' Florence resident Olga Bachinski said that she looks forward to Novitt's visits to her home. She and Novitt often have a cup of coffee and some cookies, and ad mire her garden when he comes to see her. ''I'm an av id reader, like many other older citizens in the area,'' said Bachinski. ''Without books, I would be very bored. It is so convenient that whenever I see a historical novel that I might like, Adam gets it for me.'' Residents can request the type of books, magazines, movies, or music they would like to borrow fro m the library but Adam said that after a while he gets an automatic sense of what each patron would enjoy. Novitt said, ''I've gotten to know each of them personally, discovering who they are through what they are asking for fro m them library.'' Originally fro m Long meadow, Novitt now lives in Northampton. He has been an avid cyclist for most of his life. He has included his bicycle over the years in many of his jobs, including as a tour guide in Venezuela and a courier in San Francisco. This summer, Nov itt will be b iking the length of the Connecticut River. ''I always knew I wanted to keep cycling in my life as part of whatever job I was doing,'' Novitt said. ''Rid ing was never something that I planned to give up when I got a job in the real world.'' For Nov itt, the most important element about his job is being friendly. As many of the residents are on their own, Novitt said he is occasionally the only visit some of them have for days, making his deliveries all the more important. The deliveries are part of a program at Forbes Library in No rthampton called the outreach program which has been making deliveries for over a decade. The lib rary had previously delivered books with a used car that a library patron had donated for the program's use. Unfortunately, after a while the car bro ke down and could not be restored to working condition. ''The library had a difficult decision to make then,'' Novitt said. ''We could either try to somehow get another car to use or not have a program any more.'' Novitt came up with the idea of delivering books by bike wh ile having his trash picked up by a disposal service called Pedal People. The service does all its trash pickups on bikes, and Novitt figured that he could do that same thing with books. Novitt said that he plans to keep delivering books on his bike as long as the weather permits. He refrains fro m deliveries in heavy rain o r snow because of potential damage to lib rary materials. ''I am hoping that at some point the program may receive a donation for another car so that I can continue to bring books to those who cannot come to the library on their own,'' Novitt said.
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