By ALLEN RAU
If you happen to see a brightly colored, well-built bookcase filled with books in a local restaurant or merchant in the near future, feel free to pick out one of the books, enjoy reading it, and return it to any of the other stations.
According to Washington County Library Director Richard Griffin, these little libraries “are really becoming more and more popular. The concept is you take a book and you leave a book. So if you take whatever book you like, hopefully you leave another book, so it’s kind of a self-populating thing. There’ll always be something there.”
Adding an even more local flavor to the project is the knowledge that students from David Crockett High School built and painted five of the stations. Although they are built similarly, each has a different and unique paint scheme.
Crockett students Brandon Greenway, Samantha DeBenedictis and Dorian Woods, who are in teacher Mark Good’s Construction Core class, constructed them.
Crockett art teacher Kay Groggs’ class painted them with students Autumn Payne, Kara Aloisio, Reagan Miller, Seth Bible, Cheyenne Rasnick, Alizah Gunn, Alexis Shogren, Tava Woodard and Emma Mosley.
“We were kind of going for the rugged look on the way they’re made because we want them to look like older libraries. We’re going to put tin roofing on them,” DeBenedictis said.
Greenway added, “We coated it with a light stain of polyurethane, a very light, clear stain.”
While the students pointed out that they could have finished each station within a few days, they had so many other projects that the libraries had to be spaced out.
While the Crockett students made five libraries, Griffin said there were two built and given to the Jonesborough Library by the local Elks Club.
The five libraries built at Crockett were a Jonesborough Community Chest project, and were funded by $500 from the Jonesborough Civitan Club.
Alderman and Jonesborough Community Chest leader Adam Dickson said he believed that the whole idea was to help increase literacy and the love for reading.
Civitan Club President Jimmy Rhein added, “The idea behind the Little Library is books of all types in there but particularly for kids so that at family locations like the Pizza Parlor and different restaurants and different places where families go and children go they’ve got a place where they can pick up a book and read it.”
While each station is unique, at least one is tailored for the location that has been chosen. Jonesborough Pizza Parlor was selected and the paint job on the Little Library surely reflects that. Pizza slices decorate the sides, and painted on one side are the words “ALL YOU NEED … BOOKS AND PIZZA.”
One factor that Griffin did not have to worry about was how to stock each library. “The books are free. I am very, very lucky in this county to have a fair number of books donated to us.”
He also pointed out that not only will the program help kids with their reading skills, it will get them to think about reading instead or watching TV or playing video games.
All the hard work put in by everyone involved certainly will be appreciated by those who utilize these Little Free Library stations, and Griffin certainly appreciates the work the Crockett students put in.
“It’s a combined effort … I’m glad the kids get to use their skills in making these so they have a little bit of ownership and they get a little pride looking at these in the future. I hope people will take advantage of these.”