Susan Balkam looks over Shelburne's first little free library.
By Greg Bennett
It may be small, but there is a lot of good reading in the Little Free Library at the Shelburne NSCC Campus.
The idea is a relatively new one, started in 2009 by a Wisconsin man as a tribute to his mother, a former schoolteacher who loved reading. Since then there have been more than 15,000 “little libraries” created around the world.
There are no library cards, no late fees, and no returns needed. Just bring another book to replace the one you take.
On Tuesday night, May 27 Shelburne’s Free Little Library will be officially unveiled at the foyer of the NSCC campus.
“Bring a book –take a book,” says Susan Balkam, one of the founders of the Shelburne project. “This concept is perfect for the college to try.”
The Little Free Library’s mission is to promote literacy and the love of reading; and to foster a sense of community. Those are the reasons Balkam, who along with the college’s academic chair Karla Whilms pushed to make the project a reality here.
Within the little library, the books are housed inside a glass box that is designed to look like a small building. A small sign at the top announces its purpose.
Although housed at the college, the intention is for the little library to be shared by the community.
When launched on Tuesday, many of the books inside will be from Balkam’s personal collection and represent a wide range of interests. She is hopeful the selection will continue to diversify as people continually take and exchange titles.
Once books are out in circulation, borrowers are asked to pass them along to someone else.
“We hope they will continue to circulate,” she said. They are always meant to be passed along as a gift.”