Little Free Library movement makes its way to Elizabethton
Published 12:03 pm Saturday, May 23, 2015
Take a book and later bring back one to share — the simple idea of the Little Free Library movement inspired an Elizabethton pediatrician to open one outside her office.
Dr. Rebecca Powers installed a Little Free Library outside of her office at Villlage Pediatrics at 117 E F St. around a month and a half ago.
“I have some friends in the Tree Streets in Johnson City who have Little Free Libraries,” Powers said. “I thought it would be a good program to help get more books into the hands of children.”
The Little Free Libraries are small kiosks located throughout different communities. Books are placed in boxes and are free to whoever wants to take one. The idea behind the program is that whoever takes a book will leave another in its place to help share reading throughout the community.
According to littlefreelibrary.org, the program got its start in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved the idea and the project spread from there.
To help make her Little Free Library a success, Powers enlisted the help of some friends to turn her book-filled kiosk into an eye-catching display. Charles LaPorte designed and built the library box in the shape of the Covered Bridge. Shaun Embry painted the display, including an ombre finish on the legs to mimic the look of the Doe River flowing underneath the bridge.
The Little Free Library at Village Pediatrics only has children’s and youth books inside. Powers placed some of the books in the display herself and collected donations from around the community to fill it when the supplies start to run low.
“People stop by all the time and take a book,” she said. “Most of the people come by after working hours, or on the weekends so we rarely get to see people at the library. When we come back in after the weekend, we almost always have to fill it up.”
One of the places the books come from is the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library. Children’s Librarian Ashlee Williams collects donations from the community and gives them out to people who need the books for their Little Free Libraries. In addition to Power’s library, another is located on West H St. in Elizabethton.
Williams would love to see more Free Little Libraries throughout Carter County.
“I love the idea of Free Little Libraries,” Williams said. “They are a great way to get books to people who may not be able to make it to the library. I would love to see more of them throughout the county, especially further out in the county, like in Butler, Little Milligan and Roan Mountain.”
Powers is pleased with the outcome from her Little Free Library. She offered assistance to anyone who would like to start their own.
“I am happy with how it has turned out,” she said. “I would love to see a series of Little Free Libraries throughout the city.”