Book exchange promotes literacy in Old Town

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Caption: The Old Town Book Exchange, outside of Polka Dots Bead-a-full Boutique in Old Town, Lansing. (Photo by Kasey Worst.)

Caption: The Old Town Book Exchange, outside of Polka Dots Bead-a-full Boutique in Old Town, Lansing. (Photo by Kasey Worst.)

By Kasey Worst
Old Town Lansing staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING—Old Town has a library so small one could walk right past it without realizing it is even there.

What It Is
The Old Town Book Exchange is a small, colorful box outside of the Polka-Dots Bead-a-full Boutique in Old Town, Lansing. On any given day it is filled with an assortment of books that may be borrowed by any person in town.

According to Reva Darling Goucher, an employee at Polka-Dots Bead-a-full Boutique, the book exchange was created as part of a partnership with other citizens interested in encouraging people to read in Old Town.

“It was a good way to promote literacy in the community,” Goucher said.

Goucher also said people can borrow books from the book exchange; and also donate new or used books to bring fresh options to the library.

Not Just Old Town
Small library programs like this one are not unique to Old Town.

Kathy Johnson, the Head Librarian for the Downtown Lansing branch of the Capital Area District Libraries, said people wishing to share with others often create programs like the one in Old Town. She said sometimes when someone finishes reading a book they donate the book to a program like the Old Town Book Exchange so others can read it.

“I am all for any kind of book exchange anyone wants to do,” Johnson said.

Johnson also provided the website of the Little Free Library program, a worldwide organization that creates small libraries to spread literacy. However, the Old Town Book Exchange does not appear to be associated with this organization.

The Old Town Book Exchange appeared in a blog post discussing a Cravings Gourmet Popcorn promotion on September 10, 2013.

Caption: The Old Town Book Exchange is located outside of Polka Dots Bead-a-full Boutique on Turner St., near the intersection with East Grand River Ave., in Old Town, Lansing.  (Map from I Love Old Town webpage.)

Caption: The Old Town Book Exchange is located outside of Polka Dots Bead-a-full Boutique on Turner St., near the intersection with East Grand River Ave., in Old Town, Lansing. (Map from theI Love Old Town webpage.)

More Information
Goucher, who says she created the design for the Old Town Book Exchange, said the program is completely free for the public to use.

At the time of publication, Kristin Szymusiak, the owner of the Polka-Dots Bead-a-full Boutique, could not be reached for comment about the Old Town Book Exchange.

To contact Kasey Worst, please send an email to worstkas@msu.edu or call 517–227–0129.

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