By Caroline Jones
Let me begin by saying that “Mr. Tim’s Bike” sounds like an awesome children’s book, and someone should get started on writing it right now. We can talk later about splitting the profits.
So here’s the deal: Mr. Tim is a para-educator at J. J. Flynn Elementary School in Burlington, and I got to meet him last week in between presentations with Duncan. After introducing us, Duncan excitedly turned to me and said something along the lines of “do you know what Mr. Tim has? You HAVE to see what Mr. Tim has. I’m not even going to tell you what it is. You have to come see it.” And so, with great anticipation, I headed off down the hall to see what on earth Mr. Tim has.
The suspense of the reveal might be ruined already if you happened to glance at the picture accompanying this post at the top of the page, but in case you missed it- MR. TIM HAS A ROVING LIBRARY ON THE BACK OF HIS BIKE. Now go look at the picture (if you haven’t already) and revel in the glory of this biking bibliophile’s library on wheels. Pretty stellar, right?
Mr. Tim is in his fifth summer on the book/bike mobile, which he rides around neighborhoods in Burlington lending books (most of which are donated) to kids. He rolls in and rings his bike bell like an educational ice cream man, and the kids come streaming out of their houses, shouting “Mr. Tim!” with last week’s books in hand.
Mr. Tim’s route, which takes him about three hours to complete, changes a little bit each year to maximize the number of students he reaches. When I asked about his favorite parts of the program, he said, “one of the most rewarding things for me is to see how I’ve grown the program each year and to have books available to so many children. I love it when I know many incoming kindergarten students because they have already been getting books from me as preschoolers.” His mobile library also helps to combat the dreaded summer slide, by continuing to connect students and their families to the school throughout the summer.
His bi-weekly rides have been challenged by thunderstorms, extreme heat, and flat tires, but Mr. Tim says the excitement of the kids and the community connections make it all worth it.
So about getting started on that “Mr. Tim’s Bike” children’s book…