Oct. 23, 2019 — The Siuslaw Public Library is undoubtedly a great community asset and an important component of what makes Florence a vital place to work and live. There are thousands of books and magazines along with other forms of media that residents can borrow and enjoy at home. The sheer amount of information available at the public library can sometimes seem a little overwhelming to potential readers. So many books and so little time for reading, which raises the question: What should I select?
There is now a less intimidating way to pick up a book for area residents, without having to go through the thousands of titles available at the public library. Residents and readers of all ages can now stop by the new “Little Free Library”(LFL) on the corner of Juniper and Rhododendron street.
Kay Bacon is the LFL’s “Head Librarian” and she thought it would be fun to join what has become a nationwide effort to offer a no-charge, no registration way for people to share books.
“Little Free Library’s is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, sparks creativity and builds community by fostering neighborhood book exchanges,” Bacon said. “The premise is that you take a book and leave a book for someone else to read. I saw my first Little Free Library in the little town of Dayville, Ore., years ago. I loved the idea and began thinking of how I would build one and where I would put it.”
The first LFL was built as a tribute from a son to a mother and a teacher who loved books and shared them with her friends and neighbors.
Todd Bol built the first LFL in Hudson, Wisc., in 2009, in memory of his mom. His original goal was to encourage the creation of 2,510 LFL’s, which would match the total of full-size libraries constructed by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
That goal was reached and greatly surpassed with more than 90,000 LFL’s currently in operation around the world. The organization became a nonprofit in 2012 and interest in the program has grown exponentially since then.
The LFL Nonprofit has also been recognized by The Library of Congress, The National Book Foundation and the Library Journal for their world promoting literacy and learning.
Another fun aspect of the LFLs are the many different forms the “library” itself can take.
LFL stewards are encouraged to create a small structure that incorporates any aspect of interest that those involved in the project feel would be appropriate.
“The Little Free Library (LFL) organization has library kits you can buy, but they also encourage you to build them out of recycled materials,” Bacon said. “I built ours out of an unfinished wooden nightstand from Habitat for Humanity Restore, which I painted bright red and stenciled a white floral design on the sides.”
To use the Little Free Library brand name, a steward must purchase a finished book exchange, a kit to build one or, for a do-it-yourself LFL, a charter sign containing the LFL text and charter number.
Bacon liked the idea of making a unique structure from reused materials and was able to enlist the help of a friend in creating what turned out to be very inviting locally themed library.
“I enlisted the help of a friend, Aaron Lamadue, of Aaron’s Landscaping. Aaron designed and built the shingled roof and found the spire and legs at Habitat Restore. He also waterproofed the seams and put plexiglass in the window of the door. We named our LFL The Prose Nest,” Bacon said. “We have books for adults as well as for children and encourage people to come by and look through the books we have — and leave a book for someone else to share.”
Florence’s Little Free Library is located at 485 Rhododendron St., at Juniper Street.