Reading materials for people of all ages are now available at four Metro Transit Centers as part of a new partnership which will put surplus library books in the hands of transit riders in North St. Louis County, Missouri, who do not have the time, access or transportation to get to the library. The St. Louis Development Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis Promise Zone, St. Louis County Library, Bi-State Development and Metro Transit were joined by special guests on March 29 at the North County Transit Center in Ferguson, Missouri to launch the new community library box program for transit riders. The project is designed to encourage people to read, while also making their transit experience more enjoyable on MetroBus and MetroLink.
“The love of reading, especially at a young age, opens the door to new opportunities, good grades in school, and a foundation that can lead to successful careers,” said Hazel Erby, St. Louis County Councilwoman for District 1. “This program isn’t just about making books available, it’s about making the love of reading available, to everyone.”
Promise Zone community library boxes can be found at the North Hanley Transit Center located at 4300 North Hanley Road in Berkeley, the Wellston Transit Center located 6342 Plymouth Avenue in Wellston, Rock Road Transit Center located at 7001 St. Charles Road in Pagedale, and the North County Transit Center located at 3140 Pershall Road in Ferguson. The boxes are stocked with novels, non-fiction, children’s books and magazines that transit riders can borrow and read while they commute on MetroLink and MetroBus. Borrowing one of the books is easy. No library card is required, and there are no costs, no fines and no due dates to worry about. Borrowers are simply asked to return the reading materials to a community library box when they are finished, whether that is two days or two weeks later, so that other transit riders can enjoy reading them.
“We’re happy to partner with the St. Louis County Library system, Metro Transit and Bi-State Development on this great initiative for the St. Louis region,” said Sheila Sweeney, Chief Executive Officer of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. “This program has the potential to strengthen educational outcomes through increased literacy rates. It will provide our community with more access to books and have a positive impact on readership for all ages.”
The community library boxes are being supplied by materials from St. Louis County Library through its Recycled Reads program. Recycled Reads circulates surplus library materials at various locations throughout St. Louis County to make reading more convenient and accessible for those with busy schedules and limited time for recreational reading.
“The community library boxes are a great way to bring library services to people outside of our buildings and to meet people where they are,” said Kristen Sorth, St. Louis County Library Director. We’re thrilled to partner with the Promise Zone and Metro Transit to expand the program so people who might not otherwise have time to read or visit a library can take advantage of this convenient service while using public transportation.”
“The program will not only create a more enjoyable commute for Metro riders, but will help make reading a regular part of our daily lives,” said John Nations, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-State Development President. “With these new community library boxes, we are removing barriers and making it easier for everyone to add something very positive and very enjoyable to their commute to work, or after work, or in the comfort of their own home.”
About Metro Transit
Metro Transit is the operator of the St. Louis region’s public transportation system, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; approximately 400 vehicle MetroBus fleet that operates on 83 MetroBus routes in Missouri and Illinois; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 122 vans. Metro is an enterprise of Bi-State Development (BSD), which also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport, the Bi-State Development Research Institute, the Gateway Arch Riverboats, and operates the Gateway Arch Trams and Revenue Collections Center. BSD also operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway.
About St. Louis Promise Zone
The St. Louis Promise Zone, which includes parts of North City and North County, partners with local leaders to give communities proven tools to rebuild and put people back to work. The federal program helps high-poverty urban, rural and tribal communities increase economic activity, improve educational outcomes, reduce serious and violent crime, invest in transformative development and improve health and wellness.
About St. Louis County Library
St. Louis County Library is the busiest public library in Missouri. In 2017, the library circulated over 13.7 million items including books, DVDs, eMedia, video games, periodicals and CDs. In the same year, 5 million people visited SLCL branches and bookmobiles. The library consists of 20 branches, 19 of which are undergoing significant upgrades as part of the Your Library Renewed campaign. SLCL offers a wide variety of innovative programming including story time for children on the autism spectrum, Career Online High School for adults seeking to earn a high school diploma, and coding workshops for kids and teens. To learn more about SLCL programs and services, visit www.slcl.org.