Get on yer bike to Biggleswade Library on Saturday, November 14, for a festival like no other, celebrating the town’s history.
The Future Libraries B-Festival – part of the ambitious Library as Laboratory art project, commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Libraries in partnership with Bedford Creative Arts and funded by Arts Council England – is designed to explore, with everyone, the possibilities for libraries beyond books and how they could be an even more inclusive cultural and community space.
And the wheels are in motion for a free, peddle-powered ‘brake’ from the norm where it will be ‘business not as usual’ at Biggleswade Library, with a day of events inspired by the place and the people, such as the town’s most famous son, Dan Albone – the inventor and manufacturer of the Ivel safety bicycle.
With pneumatic tyres, rear chain drive and equal-sized wheels, Dan’s creation helped revolutionise cycling as a sport in the late 1800s, with the bike becoming a huge hit with riders and achieving a world-record 24-hour distance of 294.5 miles. The bike also helped liberate women from their homes, as cycling became an accepted, healthy past-time.
A five-time Bedfordshire champion rider, record-breaker and founder of the Biggleswade and District Bicycle Club, Dan put the town and the county on the cycling map, which is a lineage that has stretched to the modern day through to Stotfold’s Victoria Pendleton, a multi-Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion.
Along with this passion for peddling, the Future Libraries B-Festival, as the name suggests, will be a celebration of Biggleswade, Bikes, Books, Brews, Bending, Bingo and Brussel sprouts (as the area was once the main producer of the Christmas dinner staple). The festival will be free and open to all from 10am-10pm.
Future Libraries Festival is the second of three art commissions, making up the Library As Laboratory project, and Flitwick has already enjoyed a successful three-day event, with comedy headlined by multi award-winning Bedfordshire stand-up Simon Munnery, plus music, film, food, debate and more.
Artists Ania Bas, David Littler and Rosalie Schweiker said: “It’s ‘business not as usual’ once more in Central Bedfordshire Libraries as we explore more possibilities for the future of these truly great social spaces. The first Future Libraries Festival in Flitwick brought new people to the library, so we have high hopes for the same at Biggleswade.”
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “We had some great feedback from the Flitwick festival so I’m sure that B-Festival will bring a similar sense of excitement to Biggleswade. The town has such a rich history and it seems entirely fitting that we use the library to explore this past, plus pioneering people like Dan Albone, in order to move towards a new future for this service, there and all over Central Bedfordshire.”
Throughout the day (10am-6pm):
- Brew Caravan – serving tea and coffee in the day and beer at night from 6-10-pm
- Customise your own book bag
- Bike smoothie – power your own blender for a delicious smoothie
- Bikeability cycle training for everyone (FREE but booking is required)
11am – 1pm: Bike Library – brand new for Biggleswade, a new portable library will display the full range of cycling resources, including a full range of books, magazines, virtual library e-resources and local history resources to discover more about people like Dan Albone. It also needs some special tomes, so join in a book-making session, where you can learn how to make your very own about life in Biggleswade, which will become part of the bike library. Free event.
1.30pm: Launch of the Biggleswade Bike Library – bring your bikes for a ride around town
4-5pm: Bend it! A free yoga lesson – move your mind and your limbs, amongst the library books. Run by The Courtyard Centre for Health and Wellbeing, for all ages and abilities
6-8pm: Bite-size Biggleswade supper – join us for a community supper celebrating the delicacy of Biggleswade…the Brussel sprout. There’s also wine and chocolate-tasting by the Biggleswade Fairtrade Association (free, but booking is required)
8-10pm: Brew Caravan – the Biggleswade brew of choice transforms from tea to beer for the evening’s activitie’s
8-10pm: Musical Bingo – test your musical knowledge with this fun group activity