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‘Little Free Library’ lecture slated in hopes of opening in Westfield

Date: 12/23/2014

WESTFIELD – With the successful launch of the first Little Free Library in Wyben in October, Westfield Athenaeum Director Cher Collins hopes that community and church groups and scouting troops will be inspired to start their own in the city.

To help area residents get started, an interactive lecture is planned Feb. 2 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Lang Auditorium, hosted by Collins and Art Sousa. Sousa, who with the assistance from his father, Phillip, and sister, Yvette Estee, created the design for the Wyben Little Library, which is located on the lawn of the Wyben Union Church at 678 Montgomery Road. Sousa is also a member of the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum, which embraced this idea in the spring when Collins approached members for their input.

A free little library is a small house of books placed in a community to spread literacy beyond the walls of libraries and directly into neighborhoods.

Collins noted in a recent Friday morning interview with Reminder Publications that the goal of the community based project is to “raise literacy awareness and foster the love of sharing books.
Based on the “take a book, leave a book” principle, the free little library is designed to be a free standing depository in and among communities.

“Residents and neighbors share reading materials through this free exchange and keep the library stocked through their own good will,” said Collins.

Collins noted that Westfield’s Little Library Project will become registered with the Little Free Library organization which promotes literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.

“The hope is that residents and neighborhood groups will create and sustain their own,” said Collins.

Wyben’s Little Library was fashioned with an apple theme since it was unveiled during the fall and Wyben is best known for its orchards. West Parish Orchards donated the apples for the grand opening ceremony on Oct. 5.

“I hear from kids they love the Little Library,” said Sousa.

Sousa noted he relishes working on hands-on projects and that he will provide simple steps on the evening of Feb. 2 for those interested in creating a little library.

“Anyone can do it,” he said, adding thanks to Home Depot for donating the post and the Westfield Lumber Center for donating the shingles for Wyben’s little library.

“The Little Library is not meant to be a big expense,” added Collins.

For more information, contact Collins at 568-0638, or visit www.LittleFreeLibrary.org.

The Little Free Library idea, started in 2009 in Wisconsin, has spread across the country, inspiring cities and neighborhoods to design, create, and build structures to freely exchange books.