In an era of e-readers such as Kindles, Nooks and iPads, Long Beach has launched a free outdoor library book exchange along the boardwalk.
The Long Beach Library supplied four book bins, dubbed "Little Libraries," each filled with about 30 books. City officials say it is Nassau County's first outdoor book exchange.
The four library boxes are set up along the boardwalk near beach entrance ticket booths at Grand, Magnolia, Monroe and Franklin boulevards.
Each box is painted in different colorful designs and bears the slogan, "Take One, Leave One." They were painted by residents Michele Asarch, Melinda Greenberg, Amber Werner and Tanya Suárez.
The book-filled wooden boxes are protected from bad weather by unlocked latched glass doors. The library is accepting paperback donations to help keep the boxes filled.
Library officials said the goal of the project is to expand the reach of its collection to the beach. No library card or checkout is required.
The paperbacks available Wednesday ranged from children's books to fantasy stories and romance novels.
The effort is modeled after a Wisconsin outdoor library program, which has expanded to 15,000 Little Free Libraries in 56 counties, according to a statement from Long Beach representatives.
"We are encouraging residents and visitors to stop by one of these locations on our beautiful new boardwalk to pick up a book to read during their day at the beach," City Council President Scott Mandel said in an email.
Beach ticket-takers said they have noticed residents thumbing through books since they were installed this week, but boardwalk visitors who passed by the libraries Wednesday didn't realize they were available.
East Rockaway resident Anne Marie Behrman whisked past one of the boxes at the beach entrance at Grand Boulevard until the book box was pointed out to her.
"I think it's a great idea. Anything to get kids to read," Behrman said. But she didn't think she'd be grabbing a book for herself.
"I have my Kindle," she said.