Book Bike Arrives!!

Book Bike comes to Bloomington-Normal

The West Bloomington Revitalization Project will welcome the Book Bike to the Bloomington-Normal community during the Family Fun Fall Festival at the Westside Community Garden from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, September 25. Adapted from an idea developed by Chicagoan Gabe Levinson, the WBRP Book Bike will be ridden around various locations in the community to bring free books to children and adults on weekends.

The Book Bike is a three-wheeled Workman bike outfitted with a special book carrier that folds out into book shelving. The bike will be stocked with books donated by the Bloomington Public Library from its bi-annual book sale, and donations of new and gently used books from residents throughout the community.

The Book Bike represents an integral part of the WBRP initiative to educate youth and connect the community through reading and literacy efforts. WBRP Board Member and Ward 6 Alderwoman Karen Schmidt is pleased to see this program get underway. “It reflects our commitment to sustainability and to individual connections that strengthen neighborhoods and refresh our ties to one another,” said Schmidt. “Our expectation is that the Book Bike will be out in our community every weekend, venue and weather permitting, and we look forward to bringing books and people together in happy and surprising ways.”

The Book Bike is made possible by donations from Chris Koos and Vitesse Cycle in Normal; Mark Fagerland of Unique Design, who donated the design, material and labor for the custom-made book carrier; and several community donors, including Mike and Cindy Kerber, George and Myra Gordon, Karen Schmidt, and Earl and Carol Reitan. The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Donor Advised Fund also assisted the group with this initiative.

With a full load of books, the bike is estimated to weigh some 200 pounds. Book Bike volunteer riders will include: Illinois Wesleyan University students, McLean County Wheelers, members of the ISU Bike Club, and other local bike riders who are willing to be part of this unique effort.

The Book Bike Advisory Team includes: Georgia Bouda, Bloomington Public Library Director; Chris Sweet, IWU Librarian; Sean Gower, IWU student and WBRP staff; Valerie Dumser, President of WBRP Board of Directors; Deborah Halperin, IWU Action Research Center Director and WBRP Board member; and Karen Schmidt, Bloomington City Council member, WBRP Board member, and IWU University Librarian.

The WBRP will arrange visits by the Book Bike and plans to host celebrity readers throughout the community, including an appearance by Book Bike founder Gabe Levinson. For more information about hosting a Book Bike event, volunteering as a rider or a reader, or to donate books, call the WBRP office at 309-829-1200, or contact Karen Schmidt, karen61701@gmail.com.

For more on the Book Bike concept, visit www.bookbike.org and view the YouTube video that inspired the local project at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXanB9C2R6I

To learn more about the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, visit the website at: www.westbloomington.org

the above press release was shared with permission

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