The new Bluebird Open Book Exchange at St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts encourages book-sharing on a community level.
ST. PETERSBURG – A community read-in celebrates the opening of The Bluebird Open Book Exchange Thursday, Sept. 20, 6 to 8 p.m., on the north lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite book, as well as a blanket or lawn chair. Free books also will be available, and visitors may bring their own to donate to the book exchange. There will be a cash bar.
The MFA and Bluebird Books want everyone to read – and to see art. The Bluebird Open Book Exchange, a little free library, will be installed near the entrance to the museum’s glass conservatory on Beach Drive. This custom-built kiosk encourages the community to leave or take a book in a free exchange of literature.
Books have played a huge role in the life of the MFA. The museum store has a superlative selection of art books for adults and children and will donate to this first book exchange. In addition, the MFA has the most complete art reference library in Pinellas County. Use of the library is currently by appointment.
Little Free Libraries were founded by a group of Wisconsin booklovers. Their goal was to encourage book-sharing on a community level. The Bluebird Book Exchange is custom-designed by Tampa Bay area artist and architect Mishou Sanchez. She utilizes a recycled cabinet door and handle, seated on a recycled fence-post, coated with marine-grade varnish for weather resistance, and capped with a corrugated plastic roof to protect against the elements.
The Bluebird Books bus provides initial book inventory and upkeep, and as the project grows, volunteer caretakers will be recruited from businesses and neighborhood associations in areas where book-boxes are planted.
The read-in event outside is free, but the museum invites everyone to see the art inside. Admission is $10 from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.
The collection is world-class and three special exhibitions are on view. Global + Local: Studio and Contemporary Glass on Florida’s West Coast spotlights more than 100 works bursting with color and daring. Contemporary Prints by American Women: A Selection from the Gift of Martha and Jim Sweeny, which has just opened, displays approximately 30 works by some of our most important and innovative artists.
The MFA’s photography collection is one of the most respected in the Southeast. Sitter and Subject in Nineteenth-Century Photography provide a window on history. Portraits of American statesman Daniel Webster, showman P.T. Barnum, tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, poet John Greenleaf Whittier, and Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky are among these fascinating images.