Bookin’ Bikers stop in Carson
The Bookin’ Bikers, a group of motorcycle-riding librarians, passed through Carson Monday night as part of a tour through Nevada.
The group of librarians and educators are traveling the state to promote reading to children and give away thousands of free books.
“Motorcycles and storytelling are the two vehicles we want to use to hook and keep kids on reading,” co-founder James Bowen said.
All eight members of the Bookin’ Bikers are librarians. Some are professional storytellers or singers as well.
Bowen said they wanted to show reading is cool and give a different image to librarians. He said he hoped kids would be attracted to the different image and get more involved in reading.
The Las Vegas-based group began their tour June 10, and plan on stopping in 11 Nevada towns. Besides traveling on their motorcycles, the Bookin’ Bikers pack their books into a box trailer attached to a Suburban.
With more than 12,000 books to donate during their tour, the Bookin’ Bikers offer the gifts to children who may not have any.
“It’s like Christmas in June,” Bowen said. “We have seen kids who have no books.”
He explained most of the books were donated through the Kids to Kids program, a program in Southern Nevada that encourages families who have a lot of extra books to donate them to children without books.
“It’s kind of like Robin Hood,” he said.
In Carson, the group of bikers donated 1,000 books to children.
This is the first tour for the Bookin’ Bikers, but Bowen said he hopes there will be many more. Next summer, he said he would like to travel through the southern part of the country, along Route 66 in Arizona.
The idea for Bookin’ Bikers took off fast this year, said Bowen. Within just a few months, the group had planned their tour through Nevada. Entirely nonprofit, the group survives solely on the charity of sponsors in Southern Nevada.
The three other storytellers, Rita Botzenhardt, Scott Hensley and Jan Coleman entertained the children Monday night with songs, musical instruments, and plenty of storytelling.
Besides entertaining the children in the towns, the group has also put up a Web site to keep the children of Nevada following their tour. They keep journals and update the site with photos daily. The group also posts trivia questions in each town and gives free T-shirts to the children who e-mail the correct answer.
Despite all the hard work and long days on a motorcycle, Bowen said it is all worthwhile when he sees the smiles on the children’s faces.
From Carson City, the bikers are headed to Tonopah, Pahrump and Henderson. They’ve already stopped in Boulder City, Overton, Caliente, Ely, Elko, Reno and Yerington.
ON THE NET