Catch and release books ‘in the wild’

Find a Wild Book around Cranbrook and it's yours to read then pass on, in an initiative to promote literacy

IT'S A BIG UN: A Wild Book was captured at Max's Place in downtown Cranbrook on Monday

IT'S A BIG UN: A Wild Book was captured at Max's Place in downtown Cranbrook on Monday

They are out there right now. Lurking in the shadows, prowling around when you aren’t looking. In fact, you could be sitting beside one right now and not even know it.

We’re talking about Wild Books, of course, a new initiative that launched free books into public spaces in Cranbrook to be “caught”, read and enjoyed by anyone, then “released” once more into the community.

On Monday, January 28, the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, in collaboration with the Cranbrook Public Library, released five free books at Max’s Place on 10th Avenue in downtown Cranbrook. Each book contains a bookmark and a sticker, explaining that they are part of the Wild Books initiative.

“Keep your eyes peeled for the Wild Books label on a seemingly discarded book at a coffee shop, grocery store, park bench… you get the idea. If you find one, pick it up – it’s there for you! Then, take it home and read it. When you’re done reading, release the book back into the wild (anywhere you want),” said Katherine Hough, Cranbrook community literacy coordinator for Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL).

You can even release your own books into the wild if you want to share a favourite with the community. Wild Books labels and bookmarks can be picked up at the Cranbrook Public Library, which is partnering with CBAL to celebrate Family Literacy Day on January 27.

“It doesn’t have to have a library bar code on it to be valuable to us,” said chief librarian Ursula Brigl. “We just want to see people reading.”

There is even a blog where you can follow and add to the journey of Cranbrook’s Wild Books: visit

“Literacy builds self-confidence,” said Hough. “People who are literate are more involved in their communities, have better health and better team-building skills.”

For more information, phone 250-417-2896 or email