A stack of book bins.

A stack of book bins.

Promoting literacy through book bins

Committee has 13 boxes throughout Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows.

The Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Community Literacy Committee is placing books around the community, free to anyone to pick up, and return, through its book bins program.

The committee promotes and supports adult and family literacy. It had 11 book bins sites in 2016, circulating more than 1,400 books.

It is has 13 such locations this year and is looking for more.

”Our volunteers visit our book bins on a regular basis with a new selection of books and drop off copies of the West Coast Reader – a low-literacy newspaper,” said Elaine Yamamoto, with the committee, which operates out of a drop-in resource centre on 223rd Street in Port Haney.

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 the program.

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

The first book bins were made in 2013 by a carpentry program student at Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary.

The last nine were built at the carpentry training workshop at Fraser Regional Corrections Centre.

Books are donated by the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows libraries, as well as individual members of the community.

Last year, volunteer Bob Sargent singlehandedly put 1,428 books into circulation in the community.

“The goal of the program is two-fold,” Yamamoto said. “We are hoping to encourage people to pick up a book to enjoy and occupy their time. And perhaps, if they notice the information we have about our programs, they can refer someone who could use help with their reading and writing skills, or they may want to find a way to volunteer with us.”

She added the main goal is to celebrate reading and to demonstrate that the whole community values books.

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

• For more information or to donate, contact 604-721-3738

Book bin locations:

(Maple Ridge)

• Alouette Home Start Society, 22207 Brown Ave.;

• Blenz Coffee, 22441 Dewdney Trunk Rd.;

• Golden Ears Coin Laundry, 22546 Lougheed Hwy.;

• Friends in Need Food Bank, 22726 Dewdney Trunk Rd.;

• Haney Plaza Coin Laundry and Dry Cleaning,  22255 Dewdney Trunk Rd.;

• Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, 11925 Haney Place;

• Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services – Rainbow Club, 11907 – 228th Street;

• Ridge Meadows Hospital, 11666 Laity Street;

• The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries,  22188 Lougheed Hwy.;

(Pitt Meadows)

• Friends in Need Food Bank, Grace Community Church, 12240 Harris Rd.;

• Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre, 12027 Harris Road;

• Katzie First Nation Health Centre, 10946 Katzie Road.