New book boxes helping promote reading, literacy in Timmins

New boxes are popping up in Timmins, with an aim to help promote literacy.

Six small boxes filled with books will be located around the city, and the books are available for people to borrow and read for free. It’s part of the Great Book Box Project.

“Our motto is take a book, leave a book, share a book,” said Mary Gardner, chairperson of the Great Book Box Committee in Timmins.

Gardner said three boxes have been installed and three more are on the way. She said they receive books from the library that have been decommissioned, and people also drop off their own used books from personal libraries.

“We need more children’s books, and we need more books from [First Nations] communities,” said Gardner.

The Mayor of Timmins, Michelle Boileau stands with Paul Woodward, VP of The Bucket Shop, in front of the Gillies Lake book box. (Submitted by Mary Gardner)

The metal book boxes were built by The Bucket Shop in Timmins and they have a unique style; the boxes are in the shape of the McIntyre Headframe and they will be painted a rusty brown colour. 

Previous book boxes were also reminiscent of the Timmins community, including ones shaped as a Hollinger House and a birdhouse.

Gardner said in 2014, she heard of book boxes popping up in Toronto and she wanted to bring the idea to Timmins.

“I’m part of the Porcupine Book Club and so what we did was, we invited people from the library, from the city, the art club, Timmins High and Vocational School, parks and recreation, to form a committee so that we could just discuss how we could make this happen.”

A grey McIntyre Headframe-shaped box stands on a wooden post in a garden beside purple flowers.
The Great Book Box Project is to help promote reading and literacy around the City of Timmins. The McIntyre Headframe-shaped boxes will all be painted a rusty-brown colour. (Submitted by Mary Gardner)

Gardner said the book boxes help promote a sense of community and give children the opportunity to read more at home.

“I just thought for the sake of the children and our upcoming citizens, it’s really important for them to be literate.”

Since being placed around the community, Gardner said they have had ‘wonderful’ feedback from people using the book boxes. She added some neighbourhoods have requested the boxes and her committee is working to plan where the next ones will go.

“Other people have little book boxes. I think a church has a book box, there are book boxes now at some of the places where people have their camps at some of the campsites and different lakes,” explained Gardner.

“Everybody on the committee is just delighted that this has been such a successful project.”

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