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'Bookworm' project in Guelph encourages composting

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A project in Guelph is encouraging residents to let their literature be devoured by the real 'bookworms.'

The Bookworm Project at Double Rainbow Café is asking readers to donate books they have an emotional conflict with so they can be composted and fed to actual worms.

"It's also a way of encouraging people to think about items that they own and that they have in their world that they could let go of," said project creator Karen Houle.

The conflict with the book could be that it's tied to a difficult, personal relationship, may contain stereotypes readers don't agree with, or just have an aspect that feels outdated.

"This one is full of lots of 'helpful advice' from the 19th century about how you should or should not raise an infant," said donor Canace De Taeye.

Once the books are donated, the worms get to turning it into compost.

"The customers love it, mostly," said café owner Kimberley England. "Some of them are creeped out by worms, but the worms aren't very visible."

Houle, a former university professor, says the project is not about censorship or endorsement, but that it falls more under the eco-art category.

"It turns something negative or conflicted into something positive, which is soil," said Houle.

Anyone donating a book is invited to write down why they have a conflict with it. Donors also get to take home some of the soil.

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