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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Free book vending machines installed to combat Detroit book deserts

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 3:42 PM

Detroit is often described by the absence of things: abandoned lots, food deserts, busses that never arrive, dreams that never come to fruition. And in some areas of the city, there's another thing missing — books.  

To help get books into the hands of some of the children who need them most, JetBlue launched its "Soar with Reading" program, which will deliver 100,000 books to Detroit via strategically placed vending machines.  

The program began in 2011, and Detroit was selected in 2015 after winning an online voting competition.

According to research commissioned by JetBlue, Detroit is home a number of areas book deserts, areas where children and their families have little or no access to purchase age-appropriate books. Hamtramck was found to only have one book for every 42 children.

Five locations will house the machines, which will feature updated titles every two week. Children and their families are welcome to use the vending machines as often as they like, and take as many books they like all summer long. 

Here's a list of the five locations: 

The Samaritan Center - 5555 Conner Street, Detroit, MI 48213

Northwest Activity Center - 18100 Meyers Road, Detroit, MI 48235

Patton Park - 2301 Woodmere Street, Detroit, MI 48209

Rosedale Park Baptist Church - 14179 Evergreen Road, Detroit, MI 48223

The Matrix Center - 13560 East McNichols, Detroit, MI 48205

To see photos of the launch event, click here. For more information about locations, titles, and weekly story hours, you can text SOAR to 77948 or visit

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