Spotlight On East Asheville – Little Free Libraries

By Kathryn Liss

Little Free Libraries are popping up everywhere. We have at least three in Haw Creek. By Haw Creek Commons (by the parking lot next to the Bethesda Methodist Church), one at 8 Rhododendron Place (set up by Janet Oliver) and one in the Stonebridge Community (set up by the Stonebridge HOA).

What is a “little free library?” It is generally a small box on a post with a door. Inside you can find books that have been left by people who no longer want to read them. You can take a book or you can leave a book. Or you can do both. Some little free libraries specialize in the kind of books that they have; books for children, books on religious topics, novels, non-fiction. As far as I can tell, the little free libraries in our neighborhood are not specialized.

I spoke with Paul Rollins who was the point person for getting the library started in Stonebridge community. It took from June to October to go through the process of getting community acceptance to put it up in a shared space. The community has 60 homes and 37 people came out to celebrate when it was opened. Mr. Rollins says that it is a great community asset, bringing people together who otherwise may be isolated from each other. It also supports reading and sharing of materials.  Like the little girl in the video below, children love the chance to get a book for free.

Why would you want to patronize a little free library? Maybe it is a holiday and the public library isn’t open. Or you just have a sudden desire to read something different. As the girl in the video says, “Our brains can’t go without books…. [without books] the world would be empty like a bucket without water.”

The Citizen Times article says it “is a way to tie small communities together and make literacy more accessible.”

I also heard from Janet Oliver. She said; “We have 27 children on our small street. We wanted to put up something that would keep encouraging them to read. The joy has been watching the kids stop by and see what new books have entered “the book box.”

Libraries are very important to communities. We have noticed how many people come out to the community meetings regarding the East Library on Avon. Exchanging information through reading is something we value, even in this day of electronic devices that can provide whatever information we want just by asking a question. However, the pleasure of turning the pages and relaxing by reading is something that can best be achieved with books. So for those of us still enjoying the tactile pleasure of a hard copy book, try out the little free libraries and see if you can find something surprising and enjoyable.

Visit www.littlefreelibrary.org for more on how to start your own Free Little Library. For more information you can also contact Paul Rollins at 828-505-0144.

 

 

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