Page 48 - Southington Magazine Issue 46 Autumn 2021
P. 48

 by Katherine F. Donohue
What’s black and white and “read” all over? So the riddle goes. Newspapers, sunburned pen- guins, and my Little Free Library
on Prospect Street!
Perhaps you’ve noticed it
or other oddly shaped wooden boxes bulging with books, pop- ping up on front lawns around Southington.
These fun, funky, and func- tional structures of various de- signs and colors are all part of
the growing Little Free Library (LFL) movement. And people everywhere are enjoying free books to read.
In Southington and Plants- ville I have counted 11 Little Free Libraries. Each Library has a steward, who registered theirs with the nonprofit Little Free Library (LFL) organization. The steward maintains the Library and replenishes its books as
Most LFLs are outdoors
and made of a variety of ma- terials from molded plastic to up-cycled pieces of old furni- ture. The designs look like little saltbox structures or dollhous- es, most with slanted or round- ed roofs to allow snow to melt off. Many are playfully painted pieces on wooden posts. Mine is plunked on a tree trunk. All of them are filled with assorted books. Each chartered library
sports a little sign that says:
“Take a book. Share a book!”
Sharing a free book is a good thing especial-
ly when encouraging literacy for every age and reading level.
The Little Free Library organization started 12 years ago in a small town in Wisconsin. The brainchildofthelateToddH.Bol,hecreatedthe first library to honor his schoolteacher mom.
Since he was not a good reader, she always encouraged him and never gave up on either her son or her students. Bol wanted to give her a leg- acy and created, designed, and built a mini-one room schoolhouse. He set it on a post in his yard and filled it with books for passersby to take for free.
Before long neighbors and friends wanted their own. Bol began to build them for townspeo- ple to buy. To promote its growth and to further spread these libraries around the state, he be- gan to give them away. After that, the movement caught on.
What started in a tiny town grew interna- tionally. By 2020 over 100,000 Little Free Librar- ies dot the landscape encouraging people of all ages, in urban, suburban, and rural locations, to read and build community!
I visited the Friends of the Library bookstore attheSouthingtonPublicLibraryrecentlywhereI get great buys to supplement my stock.
While there, I asked librarian Lynn Pawloski how she felt about Little Free Libraries. Her re- sponse was as expected.
“I think they’re great! Especially during the pandemic when the public library wasn’t always open, the Little Libraries made books more ac- cessible.”
Librarians approve of anything positive that encourages reading.
While the Little Free Libraries do not offer the variety and depth of a public library, they do pro-
The Little
Free Libraries
of Southington
Southington Magazine — Autumn 2021

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