By Katie Watt
Special to the Pioneer
There have been whispers around town about a young woman on a bicycle towing a trailer of books behind her. As legend has it, if you’re lucky enough to encounter her, she’ll grant you a book of your choice, free of charge.
Some have called her the “book fairy.” A tale of her appearing at the local skate park earlier this month has been circulating around town. They say every kid at the park went home with a new book that day.
A group of children was also spotted walking down the street, nose deep in the pages of new books, earlier this month. The mother of these children said that they didn’t leave home with those books. Rather, she says, they came from a bicycle.
So, what is the identity of this mysterious “book fairy”? Well, Sandy Kalesnikoff has an answer for that. Ms. Kalesnikoff is the community literacy coordinator for the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL), and is one of the organizers behind the book bike.
“Our summer student, Brooklynne Agnew, is the one riding the bike. She’s out there from Monday to Friday every week,” says Mrs. Kalesnikoff, adding that “on average, she’s giving out thirty to forty books a day.”
A two-week pilot project for the book bike was launched last summer, during which time, Ms. Kalesnikoff estimates about 200 books were distributed.
The books vary in their genre and targeted audience. “We have books for adults too,” says Ms. Kalesnikoff. She also adds that she’s especially happy to see children benefiting from the project.
“It’s nice to see that kids are still valuing books,” she says. “I think the fact that they get to pick what they read is key for getting them interested.”
Many of the books from the bike have been donated, while others are brand new. “We really appreciate community support,” says Ms. Kalesnikoff. “It shows that literacy is still at the forefront.”
If you’re interested in visiting the book bike, it can often be spotted at the various parks around town, such as Pothole Park or near the Cenotaph. Or, at least, that’s what they say.