Edgeville Buzz

Build Your Own ‘Little Free Library’, Program Hopes To Reach 100 Boxes By End Of Summer

Those clever little libraries that are built with individual style, have slowly popped up throughout the Edgewater neighborhood. The program, which encourages residents to read books, currently has 50 boxes with hopes to double that number by the end of summer.

The Little Free Libraries are simple wooden boxes built by residents. Neighbors are encouraged to check out the books and return them back to the any of the boxes when they are finished. Though there is currently no way to track the circulation of the reading materials, people who participate in the program regularly check and fill the current stock.

“We encourage our ‘hosts’ to think of themselves as part of a community network.  If they get too many books (yes it happens), we’re glad to take them off their hands,” said Tom Welch of Little Free Libraries.  “If they need books, they can come to our repository and stock up!  Right now the repository is in the offices of Alderman Harry Osterman.  He has been a huge supporter of Edgewater Reads and some of the members of his staff have been key in making it all work.”  

On April 22, Little Free Libraries will hold their first ‘Build Day’ of the season from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Senn High School parking lot on the West side of the building. Resident can build their own box and take it home to individualize. The materials are free for Edgewater residents, generously donated by an Edgewater foundation called The Overhead Project, and donations from the community. For folks from outside Edgewater, they ask for a donation of at least $50, which will just about cover the materials and hardware.

To participate in the Build Day, just bring a hammer and a friend. They will have 12-15 kits for assembly so reservations are strongly recommended. 

We provide them with a complete kit, ready to assemble,” Welch added. “We have a terrific group of volunteers who go to the lumber yard,  purchase the lumber and other materials and then work for many many hours cutting all the pieces out, then bundling them into kits so they are all ready for families, couples and friends to assemble.  We also provide the nails, glue, hinges, plexiglass, door handles, etc.”

This year, the program has a couple of new partners. Andersonville’s Thybony Paints has generously donated their sample cans and the RAM Art Studio on Broadway has volunteered to let folks use their workspace to personalize their library.  Once you have finished your library, just contact the organization and they will bring out a post, a post hole digger and even install it for you!

The libraries continue to attract an enormous amount of attention in the Edgewater community. They have also created an eager following and a strong network of friends.

I knew that (the libraries) were a hit when I came out of my apartment early one morning to catch an early flight.  It was about 5:15 a.m. and to my surprise there was a young woman standing at the library picking out a book,” said Welch.  “She was using her cell phone as a light, picked out a book and went on her way.  I figured that if folks were stopping by at that time of day to find a book to read, that we were filling a need and helping the community.”  

For more info on the program and event go EdgewaterReads.org.

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