The Ford Family Foundation Lincoln County Group Three is inviting Lincoln County residents to become part of an 11 branch Little Free Libraries system. Eleven branches – to start. It will likely grow in number over the next few years.
Meeting at the Toledo Fire Station Saturday, the group said the idea is to enhance local literacy, promote community awareness and build social connections where none existed before. And by constructing and placing little birdhouse-like structures in public places around the county and fill them with books, they figure they can accomplish that. They envision them in parks, near bus stops, outside schools, government buildings, along sidewalks – the possibilities are endless.
The idea is simple. It goes back to 19th century Wisconsin where a man, in honor of his mother who was a teacher and an avid reader and reading coach, built what amounted to an over-sized bird house and stuffed it with books. The books are free for any and everyone take and read. When they’re done with a book, they bring it back and take another one to enjoy. People come and go, taking books, returning them, often adding to the supply, becoming more proficient and educated readers, adding to their understanding of the world and their place in it. And of course, as they use the little libraries they get to know their neighbors, townspeople and folks just passing through who know what Little Free Libraries are.
Such mini-libraries are scattered throughout cities, towns and villages across the country, including many in Oregon. They’re very popular in the valley and in Portland.
The Ford Foundation group hopes to have the 11 sites selected, built and stuffed with books by mid-to-late summer. Prospective locations include the Town Commons in Yachats, Don Davis Park in Newport, the Seal Rock Water District Offices in Seal Rock, Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay and Centro de Ayuda at St. Stephens Church in Newport. Other locations will come on line as well.
The group is asking Lincoln County residents to come forward and donate toward the construction of the Little Free Libraries. These “take-a-book-leave-a-book” libraries will be well constructed and will reflect the character of the area where they are erected. The arts community is also invited to become part of the design and construction of what will certainly be far more than the 11 initial little library offerings. If you’d like to donate or even build one yourself, you can contact the group for the basic design and where to place it by calling Sharon Kanareff at 541-270-4157 or Brittany Russell at 541-961-6320. A call will go out for book donations sometime this summer.
If you would like to adopt one of these Little Free Libraries, call the numbers above and learn what’s involved. The group is also looking for someone to offer shop space to work on the little libraries and to store a small amount of materials for their construction.