Take a Book, Leave a Book
by Angela D. Glascock, Editorial Writer
There has been a delightful bloom of Little Free Libraries in Greenbriar.
What is a Little Free Library, you ask? A Little Free Library is just what it sounds like: a small structure that houses books to borrow or trade. Books are provided by citizens, creating a continuous, all-hours book exchange.
The aim of Little Free Libraries, according to LittleFreeLibrary.org, is “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.”
Sounds like a wonderful idea to me.
Todd Bol, who wished to honor his mother, a teacher who loved to read, created the first Little Free Library in Wisconsin in 2009. This original library looks like a little red schoolhouse. Bol built it, painted it, attached it to a post in his front yard, filled it with books, and put up a sign that read “Free Books.”
It was an immediate success.
The idea of Little Free Libraries in communities has caught on and spread quickly throughout the world. By June 2016, there were an estimated 40,000 registered Little Free Libraries — but that figure does not include thousands of unregistered little libraries, like three of those in Greenbriar. It is a brilliant way to share and find an eclectic variety of books while promoting literacy and community.
An internet search for “Little Free Library” brings up hundreds of photos of libraries in an amazing array of designs. The most common design is of a house, but these little house shaped libraries are far from common: there are wee cottages, Victorians, lighthouses, even a motorhome. People have recycled phone booths, newspaper dispensers and wooden barrels to make libraries. Some designs are simple, some are complex, but they are all remarkable.
In Greenbriar, the Little Free Libraries look like small houses with glass doors, but again, they are far from plain.
So where are these delightful structures located? You’ve probably seen the one by the pool, at the intersection of Point Pleasant and Middle Ridge. That was the first one I noticed. It’s called the “Tiny Free Library,” and a sign invites you to “Take a book * leave a book.”
At Point Pleasant and Maylock is the “Scrapwood Library,” so named because it was built from recycled wood: “scraps from our new kitchen …,” according to the sign, which also invites you to “take a book, leave a book.”
Toward Stringfellow at the intersection of Point Pleasant and Peekskill is a cheerful, bright yellow and blue library; this is the Greenbriar Little Free Library #33664.
Finally, at the Cale Community Center, there is a white library accented with green trefoils, compliments of Girl Scout Troop
When I visited each library, I found that they were full of an assortment of books.
The Tiny Free Library contained a lot of popular fiction, such as Charlaine Harris, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich and David Baldacci. This one is likely the most visited because of its central location.
The Scrapwood Library housed a mix of popular fiction, classics (such as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn), non-fiction, anthologies, textbooks, well-loved books, old books, new books and cookbooks. There were also audiobooks on CD.
The Greenbriar Little Free Library #33664, owned by Mary and Tom O’Connor, contained mostly children’s books, which, Tom said cheerfully when I interrupted his mowing to inquire, was their aim.
The Girl Scout library at the Cale Community Center was chock full of picture books, chapter books and young adult selections. Perfect for kids.
So, Greenbriar, whether you take a book, leave a book, or borrow a book and return it later, the four little libraries in Greenbriar offer bountiful choices for reading this summer.
To everyone who installed little libraries, and to everyone who supports them, thank you for supporting literacy in our community!
Little Free Library information and the locations of registered libraries can be found at www.LittleFreeLibrary.org.
Download this newspaper here: Greenbriar_flyer_2016_07