David and Marianne House say small town libraries are like a big window into a community.

So they’ve stopped at nearly every one along the route of the 42nd Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

The Peoria, Ill. couple did the same thing last year, for Marianne’s first RAGBRAI and David’s seventh.

“It shows the pride in the community,” David said. “So we try to hit everyone.”

The benefits are typically numerous he says: free air conditioning, wifi and restrooms and quiet escape from the crowd and noise.

But the goal of stopping at every one comes from a cultural appeal, they say.

This year, the Graettinger library left the strongest impression for both of them. They said the library decided to stay open for RAGBRAI after a spirited library board debate.

It appeared to be a good decision, since the downtown locale was filled most of the day Monday, with a long bathroom line and a pop up Des Moines Register photo booth.

The hospitality, with things like free cookies, struck the House couple most.

“It was really just small town hospitality at its best,” they said.

Marianne’s mother was a librarian and they say they are impressed with Iowa’s municipal funding for libraries, compared to Illinois’ model that requires referendum for most library funding.

“It is really nice to see how big some are and (the librarians’) can do attitude,” Marianne said Friday in the West Gate Library, which serves a local population of about 200 people.

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