Have you ever noticed that book people almost always have something to talk about?
That’s no universal oddity. It’s, to speak plainly, the way it is. It’s the same way artists always have something to talk about or the way auto mechanics have something to talk about. It’s called common ground, and it’s wonderful the way it brings diverse personalities together to interact with one another.
And sure, it’s a broad generalization to say this, but in my experience, most of the book people I’ve met in my life are very decent humans. The young lady I met today is no exception. Well, it’s true I’ve only known Mitzi for about 2 hours, but you’d have to meet her yourself to see what I mean.
Mitzi is Ms. Mitzi Gordon of the Bluebird Books Bus. This young lady is a believer and proponent of books, reading, and increased literacy among her neighbors and friends. She and her dedicated small group of volunteers do what they can to advance the cause of open book exchanges; the more techie-oriented folks reading this can think of it as OpenSource, but for dead tree books.
I recently acquired a vast collection of gently read and many never-read paperback books. And, as many of you may remember from my previous articles here or there, I am in the process of dispersing much of my own personal library of over 10K books. I don’t live in a warehouse, unfortunately, so I just don’t have the room for them anymore. And with today’s seriously diminishing book values on the used book market, it’s just not worth my while to attempt to sell them all. So, the next best thing, or possibly, the actual first best thing is to donate the books to folks who love to read.
With this in mind, I remembered an article in the newspaper from a while ago describing Mitzi and her Bluebird Books Bus. I sent her an email the other day and asked if she might like to take a few books (100s, actually) off my hands. She was quite willing to take on the burden and the possible rear suspension damage to her little blue car. Well, not really. I didn’t give her enough to strain the shocks. We decided on a more sane donation schedule. Besides, I still need to go through all the bins of books to see if there are any books in there that I’d like to read before donating.
Anyway, along with her neighborhood open book boxes, Mitzi will soon be opening a small free library pick-up and drop-off gallery of sorts. It’s going to be located in the old Seminole Heights area of Tampa, near the corner of Florida Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. If you’re in the area, stop on by after the first week of April and pick-up or drop off some books. Say hi to the Bluebird Books Bus folks while you’re there.
Reading isn’t just fundamental, as the old public service commercial used to say, it’s FUN, dammit! Put down the phone, iPad, whatever, and pick up a book. It could change your life. At the very least, it’ll provide you with a few hours of happiness. You might even meet some really nice book folks like Mitzi in your travels.
Image credits: Book bins – (c)V. T. Eric Layton
Mitzi w/ blue car – used pending permission from http://art-taco.blogspot.com