The Words on Wheels program will introduce a new bicycle designed to carry 300-400 books to give out at the Springfield High football game on Sept. 8. Pictured from left are Moses Mbeseha, The Conscious Connect co-founder), University of Dayton students Matt Forsthoefel and Gunar Stover and Karlos L. Marshall, also a co-founder of The Conscious Connect. Contributed photo

Bicycle program seeks to end ‘book deserts’ in Springfield, region

Books on a customized bicycle will pedal into Springfield as the Words on Wheels program begins to roll out in the Miami Valley.

The nonprofit program will offer free books when the bicycle debuts at the Springfield High School football game vs. Lima Senior on Friday, Sept. 8, at Evans Stadium.

The bike will be set up from approximately 6:30 to 8 p.m. and books for all ages will be distributed free, although donations to support the program are encouraged.

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The project is sponsored by Springfield-based The Conscious Connect Inc., which is dedicated to school-age and neighborhood literacy and ending what are referred to as “urban book deserts” by 2021.

Words on Wheels is the result of a partnership among The Conscious Connect, the University of Dayton’s Innovation Center and Haley Tricycles.

Work on the unique bicycle that’s capable of carrying 300 to 400 books began a year ago with university engineering students creating what would become the centerpiece of the project.

“It’s very adaptable, kind of like an ice cream bike,” said Moses Mbeseha, co-founder of Conscious Connect. “It will have music and lights and can be broken down and have added features.”

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While the bike is the show, the literature is the heart of Words on Wheels. The organization seeks out high-quality books from book drives and other sources to give out.

While organizers hoped to get the project launched last spring, the wait will be worth it, according to Mbeseha.

Whereas people might not go to or have access to a library, this is a way of bringing the library to them. The program could show up anywhere including community events, neighborhoods and street corners in the future.

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“It’s a direct-to-community book resource,” Mbeseha said. “Springfield High football is a big thing in the community and we think it will be a good place to bring it. We’ll be looking forward to how the community receives it.”

For more information, go to www.theconsciousconnect.org/words-on-wheels/.

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