New Little Free Library open in Clarksville Commons
By Susan Soldavin
Howard County Times|
May 24, 2019 at 1:00 PM
Albert Einstein once said, “The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”
I am delighted to report that our community has a new place to borrow books. A Little Free Library recently debuted on the plaza of the Clarksville Commons.
Little Free Libraries operate under the “take a book, share a book” principle. Patrons of the kiosks, often located outdoors in neighborhoods, near parks or schools, are invited to bring a book for others to enjoy. In exchange, they are encouraged to sample one of the offerings inside of the case.
Thanks to a local group of mothers, Clarksville has its own Little Free Library. The MOMS Club of Clarksville has been working on the book-lending service project for about six months. The idea for the project sprouted when members of the group learned that another chapter of the international organization for at-home moms had installed a library in their area.
“One of our board members really loves the Little Free Libraries, as does my daughter. When we heard that another MOMS club had installed one, we started thinking how it would be great to have one at the new Commons,” said Michelle Siesko, the group’s membership vice president.
Siesko’s father, Richard Shiles built the library in his home workshop. Shiles, who resides in Glen Rock, Pa., loves woodworking. After he completed the structure, group member Michelle Underwood painted floral designs on it.
During an informal inauguration of the library, the club celebrated the project by stocking it with books for children and adults. All are welcome to enjoy the library. Since space is limited, visitors are asked to only bring or take one book at a time.
The pop-up book shelves celebrate their 10th anniversary this year. In 2009, a man named Todd Bol created the first Little Free Library in the front yard of his home in Hudson, Wisc. The book exchange was a tribute to his mother, who was a teacher. Today, Bol’s idea has evolved into the world’s largest book-sharing movement. According to the Little Free Library organization, there are now more than 80,000 Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and more than 90 countries, from Argentina to Zambia.
According to a press release, Bol, who died in 2018, had this to say about this idea, “I really believe in a Little Free Library on every block and a book in every hand. I believe people can fix their neighborhoods, fix their communities, develop systems of sharing, learn from each other, and see that they have a better place on this planet to live.”
Since the start of the phenomenon, more than 120 million books have been shared through registered Little Free Libraries, increasing book access for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Designers of the sharing stands have exhibited creativity, making libraries that look like robots, castles, submarines, tree houses and more.