Big celebration for a “Little Free Library” – Saturday

by beth on April 15, 2016

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Above: The community is invited to celebrate the opening of a Little Free Library. (contributed photos)

A Southborough neighborhood is launching a new resource for the community. Powdermill Lane  installed their own Little Free Library.

To celebrate the Grand Opening, they are inviting the community to a celebration in their cul-de-sac from 10:00 am to noon this Saturday, April 16.

There will be face painting, kids crafts and snacks. They are inviting residents to stop by with a book (in good condition) to exchange. And you’ll get a chance to meet “library stewards”.

Don’t let the festivities’ kid friendly focus on kids tomorrow make you think it’s only about children’s books. Stewards tell me that the library is meant for swapping good condition books for all ages.

After the opening, the library will continue to be available for anyone who wants to use it to swap and recommend books. Swapped books don’t have to be for the same age group, but should be in good condition. (Readers can also just drop off a book they want to share or pick one up to read, then return.)

Signing the guest book is optional. Swappers may also opt to write a brief note about why they are donating or recommending a book.

You can visit their Facebook page to learn more and get regular updates about its contents, themes, and future events.

Organizers tell me that their “library” is just one in a grown “global phenomenon”: 

The small, front‐yard book exchanges number 36,000 in 70 countries — from Iceland to Tasmania to Pakistan. . .

Each year, nearly 10 million books are shared in Little Free Libraries.

Still, I wondered why the need in Southborough, when they live so close to both the Southborough and Hopkinton libraries? So, I asked one of the stewards, Jennifer Primack about the origins. Here’s her passionate response.

My husband got me the box for Christmas and I’ve been following the Little Free Library movement for a while. I feel very passionately about encouraging reading around our neighborhood. I run a book blog (www.thereadersroom.org) and wanted to share some of my passion with my neighbors. When I talked to the immediate neighbors they were all really interested in participating so it evolved into a neighborhood effort with 5 houses on our street volunteering to share the responsibility of stewarding the library.

My motivation is taking a love of reading directly into the neighborhood in a way that fosters not just reading but a sense of stronger community. We do have good libraries close by (my daughter and I go to story hour every week) but this is more about a community reading network.

I like the idea that someone can take a walk around the neighborhood, see the library and possibly enjoy a book that one of their neighbors has recommended to them. I see our little free library like a big neighborhood book club.

My 5-year old loves visiting other local little free libraries because they are like going on a treasure hunt. There is one in Ashland and a few in Holliston. Many people may not make regular trips to the library but they might be inclined to stop by a LFL that is on their walk or in their neighborhood.

The LFL isn’t intended to compete with libraries or school programs (and lets face it we can only stock 30 books at a time), or even replace their roles. It is about continuing and expanding on those programs so we can have access to books in our very own neighborhoods. Also, unlike libraries and schools, our little free libraries are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

One person on the LFL page said that after putting up her library she met and spoke to more neighbors than she had done in all previous 10 years of living in the neighborhood. I hope we can inspire families to get to know each other through a sharing of books that we love.

To learn more about the international movement, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org.

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