Book exchange program helps Bay Area readers

What's Right With Tampa Bay

- With the increase sales of e-books, printed books are on the decline, but a Bay Area woman is trying to reverse that trend.

Mitzi Gordon says she is trying to preserve a treasured pastime.

Gordon is taking her books on a very important mission. For four years, she's been working in Downtown St. Petersburg on the Open Book Exchange.

"This is my local version of these Little Free Library, which is a national program that installs these 'leave a book, take a book' libraries all over the country," Gordon said.

She started the program to help ignite the passion of reading in the community. She hopes people will pick up paper books instead of turning to electronic readers.

Gordon is inspiring others to help carry the torch to create an atmosphere of avid readers.

"It's just good for the mind. It helps us to continue in our life-long learning," she said. "My whole goal was to inspire others, not just to take the books, but to take the project and carry it out in their own way." 

Bob Devin Jones has participated in the book exchanged for years.

"I've seem 100s of people come by at all points of the day to give a book or take a book," Devin said.

Gordon said she is really proud of how the project has taken off.

"I think it is important to read, first and foremost, and that was my initiative, was to encourage reading in a simple and direct way. By making books available to the public," Gordon said. "I think that we should never stop learning." 

For more information about the program, visit http://www.openbookexchange.org/.

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