Walnut Grove Neighborhood Library
How one small addition by a resident has grown community and a love of reading
The library has provided many sweet moments with children sharing about the books they are reading or adding to the libary, and donations that have come in from near and far.
It all started in 2016, when a friend posted a Facebook post about the Little Free Library program. It showed a small library set in someone’s yard with a sign “Take a book, Share a book” along with the website. Little Free Library is an international, non-profit program to promote literacy and community. The concept is that you can take a book to read, keep it, share it with someone else, or return it to the Little Free Library when you get another book. I checked on the website and I was hooked. The stated goals of the movement are: Building community, sparking creativity, and inspiring readers. Community and books are two of my passions, and the Little Free Library was a way that I could share both of these passions with the people around me. My husband supported that idea and gave me the library as my birthday gift.
We had our ribbon-cutting ceremony in April of 2017, and since that time, we have had great experiences sharing books with our neighbors and friends. Although many of the books we started off with were from our collection, we have been fortunate to have a constant stream of books donated to the library. Books are either left in the library or in boxes on our porch. I even had a college roommate mail several books from Houston, Texas to add to our library. My sister, who is a published author, donated one of her books.
One of the purposes of the Little Free Library is to promote literacy by providing books freely. We have had so many books donated to us that we have been able to share totes of books with non-profit agencies in our community who serve high-need clientele. For many of them, it is a way to provide books to homes where there are no books.
We have had many sweet moments with our library. The neighborhood children often tell us about the books they are reading from the library or the ones they are going to put in the library for others. Many times, we have backed out of our driveway and “caught” someone at the library and have stopped for a brief (or long) conversation. One of those visits came at 10:00 pm during a rainstorm. A mom and her son were standing under an umbrella with a flashlight looking for a book that he could start reading for an upcoming assignment. Another day, it was a former librarian who had seen a little free library on a trip to California. When she returned home, she told her husband that she wanted one for their yard. However, when she got on the website, she discovered our library less than a mile from her house. She stopped by with a box of books for us to use and apparently a relieved husband who had one less project to do!
One of our neighbors dropped by with some books he loved on aviation. He asked us if he should mark out his name which was on the title pages of many of the books. We told him that it was up to him, so he left them with his name in it. Later, he approached us and told us that a 10-year-old boy in our neighborhood had come to his door to talk about the aviation book that he had taken from the library. They had a nice conversation about airplanes and flight all because he shared his book through the library and a young boy loved it. That is what community is all about.
We have had, and will continue to have, community events at our library. All are welcome to come and see and take a book to read! Check out the website at https://littlefreelibrary.org/. They have a map that can be searched for all Little Free Library locations in the area; at present, there are five locations in Layton and one in Syracuse. We encourage others to consider adding a Little Free Library to their neighborhood, their workplace, or in areas where books are needed.
Like it says on our sign: “Be awesome. Be a book nut.” Dr. Seuss