Book Bins built to celebrate reading

Each one to contain 15 new books, says local literacy group

SRT students are building the book bins.

SRT students are building the book bins.

Having boxes of books available in places where people are waiting – books that can be taken home, read, and later returned to the box – is the goal of a local literacy group.

The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee is seeing its book bin project brought to life, as carpentry apprentices from Samuel Robertson Technical are building 10 wooden boxes for a pilot project.

Elaine Yamamoto, the literacy facilitator for the group, said each of the boxes will contain about 15 new books, made available through Raise-a-Reader and private donations.

“We’ve got everything from toddler up to adult reading,” she said.

The boxes will be distributed at places like walk-in clinics, laundromats, recreation centres and other places people spend significant time.

If a book is taken home to be finished, it can be returned to any of the 10 book bins.

“The last thing we want is for a kid to love a book, and their parent have to rip it out of their hands,” said Yamamoto.

Inevitably, organizers acknowledge, books will go missing. But that will be considered an investment in literacy.

Grant Sych, woodwork teacher, agreed to have his SRT students build the milk-crate-sized boxes. He readily takes on such community projects if the organization making the request will provide the materials. The wood for the book bins was donated by Haney Builders.

As part of the pilot, the first 100 books will be tagged as part of the  project, so those interested in seeing where the book travels to can see just how many lives the book touches.

“Our main goal is to celebrate reading and to demonstrate that our whole community values books,” said Yamamoto.

The literacy committee will be finalizing pilot sites in the next month.

The book bins will start appearing in the community in about three weeks.

• Call 604-721-3738 for more information.