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Metro Transit to supply books to riders through community project

Provided | Katy Jamboretz
North St. Louis County residents attended the launch of the Promise Zone community library project at Metro Transit Centers in North St. Louis County.

A new project is providing on-the-go reading materials for Metro Transit riders in north St. Louis County.

The program, which launched this week, is a partnership between the St. Louis Promise Zone, St. Louis County Library, Bi-State Development, the Metro Transit and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. It will provide free books and other reading materials through “community library boxes” at four Metro Transit centers including: North Hanley, Wellston, Rock Road and North County.

St. Louis Promise Zone Director Erica Henderson said the goal is to improve literacy through access to books, especially when transportation for many in the community is out of reach.

“We recognize how important reading is and the exposure, the exploration, the ability to be innovative and creative,” Henderson said. “And thinking how that just opens up the doors to so much more for young people and for adults.”

The library boxes will have an assortment of reading materials ranging from non-fiction and children’s books to novels and magazines. With the help of the St. Louis County Library, the books are being supplied through their Recycled Reads Program.

St. Louis County Library District Director Kristen Sorth said the new project will be beneficial to people in the community that do not have easy access to a library nearby.

“It’s just really in an effort to catch people where they are, and to make reading and literacy a priority for them,” Sorth said. “To do that, it means that we have to go outside of the walls of the library.”

Unlike a traditional library, there is not a check-in or check-out process. Also, transit riders are not required to have a library card and will not be penalized with late fines. Sorth said the idea is that people will return the books based on the honor system once they are finished with them.

She said eventually they hope to expand the program to other parts of St. Louis County.

Follow Marissanne on Twitter: @marissanne2011


Marissanne is the afternoon newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.