Pineglades Park is now home to the second little free library in Pensacola. The project encourages members of the community to read, with the invitation to “take a book, return a book.” Diane Mack was on the Pineglades Little Free Library Project committee. She brought the idea for the little free library to the neighborhood association meeting in October 2012.
“It sounded like an absolutely wonderful, brilliant idea, perfect for a neighborhood like this, that is very active, very close to each other, that we have a park that is within our neighborhood, where we know that the little free library can be very safe,” Mack said.
Little Free Library began in 2009 in Wisconsin when its founder built the first box of free books in memory of his mother, a former school teacher. As of this year, there are estimated to be within 10 and 12,000 little free libraries around the world, with more being built. The Pineglades Neighborhood Association voted to bring the idea to Pineglades Park and paid the $35 fee for the right to use “Little Free Library” as the name.
“We wanted at least half of our books to be children’s books, because we know the kids will use it,” Mack said. “We made sure the height of our little free library will be at child height, so that they could actually just come by, open up the door, reach in, borrow a book.”
Robert Childs, a member of the neighborhood association, volunteered to design the box. He says it looks like a two-story doll house.
“There are multiple designs on the little free library website,” Childs said. “We looked at those, and that’s where we got our idea from. We wanted the front of the library to face the street, so they could see the sign and then the sidewalk leading into the park is where the access door is, to get the books out.”
The library box contains a mix of nearly thirty books for children and adults that were donated from members of the neighborhood and community.
“I enjoyed the design and construction of the box, but it’s great to see people, and you’re in the park, and people come up and you get to talk to your neighbors. It’s a real good thing, to keep neighborhoods out and in touch with each other,” Childs said.
The first little free library in Pensacola was set up on private property by Carolyn Appleyard. She first heard about the concept on Facebook.
“Within an hour of when I put it out there—I didn’t have an unveiling or anything like that, I just wanted to put it out there—I saw people walking down the street with books. And it was so excited, because they could kinda figure it out. It’s just kind of a simple concept,” Appleyard said.
To operate a little free library, one person needs to volunteer as a steward, who maintains and monitors the box for inappropriate materials.
“It’s just kinda the honor system, and it works. And it builds a sense of community. As they were saying, you get to know the people, you get to talk about books. It’s just the best way of sharing,” Appleyard said.
All in attendance at the opening earlier this week were asked to pose for a picture in front of the box with one of the books. This will be submitted to the little free library site, so the Pineglades Park location can be listed as an official location. More information is available at littlefreelibrary.org.
Katya Ivanov, WUWF News