Friday, July 15, 2016

Local Librarian Launches Little Free Library

Perhaps you have seen little wooden structures resembling birdhouses in neighborhoods or public spaces that are filled with books and have wondered what they are. They are Little Free Libraries which first began in Hudson, Wisconsin in 2009 when Todd Mol erected one in his front yard in tribute to his mother who was a book lover and school teacher.

These mini libraries revolve around the concept of “Take a Book, Leave a Book,” encouraging borrowers to keep up the supply of books. Thanks to one Forsyth County Public Library staff member, there’s a new Little Free Library in Alpharetta.

“I asked my family to help me set up a Little Free Library for our neighborhood as my Christmas gift last year,” explains Holly Raus, a member of the youth services staff at the Cumming Library.

“My husband ordered an unfinished model from Etsy and he painted it, painstakingly glued tiny cedar shake shingles on the roof, gave it a picket fence, and wallpapered the inside to look like a room full of bookshelves with a wooden parquet floor, thus turning it into a charming cottage.”

Once the Little Free Library structure was ready, the family contributed an initial collection of books.

“My son bought me several copies of classic novels to start off the book rotation and my daughter painted old bricks to look like books that I have placed in the small garden surrounding my library. It sits in front of our house near the street for easy access to neighbors passing by on power walks or dog walks,” says Raus.

Raus also shops at the Forsyth County Public Library Friends and Advocates Bookstore at the Cumming Library to keep her Little Free Library stocked.

“Since children’s literacy is very close to my heart, I keep my library stocked with books for all ages including board books, picture books, juvenile, teen and adult fiction. The Friends Bookstore has been a valuable resource for my start up collection.”

At a time when many parents are worried that their kids get too much screen time, Little Free Libraries offer a chance to get out of the house and meet other booklovers.

“My Little Free Library has been well received by my neighbors and the best endorsement was seeing a little girl sitting on one of the stepping stones that lead to the library and leaning against its post as she read a book,” says Raus.