New initiative gives Bridgeport kids access to free books

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BRIDGEPORT -

A local initiative is putting free books in the hands of kids in Bridgeport.

The program is called Books to Read and Share and its goal is to give Bridgeport kids more access to books at barbershops and laundromats.

"It's nice so kids can come in here and read so they don't just play on their phones and wait for their haircut," says 9-year-old Zac Dunleavey.

The donated books are provided by the Friends of the Bridgeport Library. They run the Books to Read and Share initiative.

Organizers collect gently used books for kids and teens and distribute them throughout the city. People can donate books at the book store on State Street.

"They just jump right up and go over there and we see how it just catches their eye," says barber Kevin White. "You know, I see quite a few kids that sit down and get excited."

The Rev. Willie Smith is on the board of the Friends of Bridgeport Library and says the program is a push for literacy.

"I've been to a few of the barbershops and I've seen young people sitting there reading and they may come across a word that they don't understand or know how to pronounce and people in the barbershop are even engaging and helping the children," says Smith.

Organizers say their goal is to get free books into 40 Bridgeport barbershops and laundromats this year.

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