Walking Books Library grows in effort to give books to Maine kids

EAST DIXFIELD — What started casually a few years ago as a tiny free books program for kids in East Dixfield has grown into Walking Books Library, which is expected to give away $10,000 worth of new children’s books in 2019.
Based in the village of mobile homes, farmhouses and cabins, Walking Books Library brings books to families and individuals as well as to elder housing, Section 8 housing and shelters.

Many kinds of books are available, from board books for babies to graffiti-themed art notebooks for teens. Also available are GED practice test books, books in Spanish and much more.
Some of the popular titles this year have been “Miss Piggy’s Diva Code,” as well as a behind-the-scenes art book by Lord of the Ring’s J.R.R. Tolkien and a prayer book for kids. Also popular were books based on TV shows, like the Maine-themed “Once Upon a Time,” and “Being Jazz: My Life as a Transgender Teen.”

A box of children's books
Some of the Walking Books Library books available for kids. (Submitted photo)

On the way for 2019 are a Major League Baseball fan book and an Eric “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” Carle hardback reader, which includes four books in one.
Walking Books Library does more than just hand books to kids — it gives them to families or neighbors so that they can do the honors. One successful program, Grandma Gifts, hands elders of any gender or relation new books to give to their younger relatives.

Walking Books Library doesn't always walk -- Deb Barbioni, of East Dixfield, and and Leslie Mitchell, of Chesterville, hitch a ride with a load of books on a skidder. (Submitted photo)
Walking Books Library doesn’t always walk — Deb Barbioni, of East Dixfield, and and Leslie Mitchell, of Chesterville, hitch a ride with a load of books on a skidder. (Submitted photo)

An elder can receive a book monthly, seasonally or on a special occasion, depending on their desire. The thought behind Grandma Gifts is that reading is more highly valued when a book is given by someone the child knows and respects rather than a stranger.
Plus, it’s just plain fun for relatives to gift these quality books some of which come with stickers or posters. Besides going to homes and communities with books, Walking Books Library also does surprise book giveaways to the public.
Planned for this holiday season are giveaways at the annual free holiday movie at Narrow Gauge Cinemas and in front of the Dollar Tree in Farmington. If you can think of a place where someone might go who is too short on time or money these days, that’s the kind of place you might find Walking Books Library.
hose who would like a book for themselves, their family, a neighbor or community may call 207-491-3672.
Appalachia North is a group of arts and literacy-based volunteers who run Walking Books Library and are also always looking to partner with people for other projects that fit their motto: Teeny-tiny projects that teach, transform or tickle you pink.

TOP PHOTO Walking Books Library books are packed and ready to go. The program supplies books to kids who otherwise may not have access. (Submitted photo)