CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – It doesn't take long to realize saying Brandon Bledsoe is excited about reading is an understatement. "I love books. There's nothing better to me," he said while reading on his front porch Wednesday.
The one thing this booklover has found in a world of smart phones and e-readers is a shortage of the good old days.
"I don't think there's enough books around," he said. "Nobody wants to slow down. Nobody wants to read. It's all about instant gratification."
So Beldsoe decided to open his own library. His Little Free Library is the first of its kind in Tennessee. "You can take one out and then you can return another one later if you want," he explained.
His wife, Katie, knows this means the Bledsoes have started a free book exchange right on their own front porch. "He's not exactly a small guy. I'm like are kids going to want to come on that guy's porch?" she said jokingly. "Having the book in your hand is just really, there's something about it."
They have one of a few hundred libraries that are registered across the country. Anyone can use Google to find a place to find and hopefully share their love of reading.
The Bledsoes are just a couple of weeks in, but they say the idea already seems to be working. "Nobody has a sense of community anymore either. This is the first time we've known any of our neighbors by name since we got married really," Brandon Bledsoe said.
Young or old, regardless of the title, they want people to know there's always a book waiting.
"If anybody uses it. It's successful. If anybody picks up reading because of this it's successful," Brandon Beldsoe said.
Little Free Libraries run on the honor system, meaning you take a book and put it back when you're done, or replace it with another. Readers are encouraged to write notes so people know where books are coming from.
The Bledsoes say they know they'll get more people interested if they mount their box closer to the street, which is recommended.
If you're interested, you can either pay for the group to build you a Little Free Libraryor get plans to build one yourself. They are also free for non-profits.