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A familiar concept with a new look on Bloomington’s west side

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 10:07 PM CDT
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BLOOMINGTON (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Don’t judge a bike by its cover; it could be a resource helping with reading levels. A Bloomington non-profit is working to serve the west side with new upgrades, including a book bike.

“He wanted me to know that getting books from the book bike taught him to read and it changed his life,” said West Bloomington Revitalization Project board member, Karen Schmidt.

Schmidt, former Bloomington city council member, had been riding the book bike around for the past 11 years with the WBRP.

“The bike itself, the mechanicals of it have taken a lot of beatings over the years,” said Schmidt.

So, it was time for the non-profit to receive a $4,000 book bike upgrade.

“Wherever we think that we can place books where people might not have them or where they just want to have more,” said Schmidt.

She has passed out thousands of books at community events, trying to make a difference. This new bike bought by donations will all her to continue the mission.

“We know that if children are not reading well by the third grade, that that’s going to affect the rest of their life really,” said Schmidt.

Although, the book bike is not the only way the non-profit is working to serve it’s community.

“We’re considered what’s known as a food desert. So, there’s not a good grocery store near by,” said operations manager at WBRP, Hannah Russell.

Russell said WBRP is also starting back up their ‘Healthy Eating Program’ serving 48 families in need.

“They’ll receive a bag of this delicious fresh, organic usually produce every week throughout the season,” said Russell.

Both of these programs are just a few of the ways WBRP is continuing to bring pride to the west side.

“All of our programs I think seem to be really taking off right now,” said Schmidt.

While Schmidt pedals through town, bringing more books to the area.

“We want to do more and we want to hear more,” said Schmidt.

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