Little library lifting literacy along the Delaware shore
Imagine a medium-sized wooden box, standing outdoors on a pole, in all kinds of weather. Inside, two-dozen portals can whisk people away to new worlds, from the mysterious to the fantastic.
This box is the Little Free Library (LFL), and it just got a second location in South Bethany.
“It’s been up 10 days, and it’s very active,” said Sue Callaway, town council member and Community Enhancement Committee chair. “It went along with the whole idea of enhancing Ocean Drive.”
Dedicated on July 30, Little Free Library East is located on a major pedestrian route, at the corner of S. 3rd Street and Ocean Drive.
“Once we realized how successful the one in the west was, we began planning,” Callaway explained, noting that Frank Weisgerber, who is now a council member, had offered to build another one on the east side.
Adults and children are encouraged to borrow a book from the library, eventually returning it or another good read. It all works on the honor system — no library cards or signatures required.
Instructions for sharing books can be found at the LFL, as well as on bookmarks donated by the South Bethany Police Department.
Callaway said she had never heard of the international LFL movement until Lori Cicero brought the idea to the CEC last summer. The LFL West opened on Evergreen Road less than a year ago.
“Now that I am [familiar with it], I notice them in other communities,” Callaway said, from the west coast to Minneapolis and Lewes.
“It fits in perfectly,” said Callaway. “You can see it’s very walker-, biker-friendly. We sort of call it a promenade. … It really speaks to what Ocean Drive is. It’s a place where people walk their dogs and … themselves.”
Plus, it’s right on the way to the beach. People can find a favorite author or discover a new favorite book.
“We’re certainly not competing with the big [South] Coastal Library, but it’s a neat thing to do and it’s fun” to see kids find a new book, Callaway said.
John and Martha Fields volunteered to be the LFL East stewards, ensuring the box is full of quality materials.
“We’re really pleased,” Callaway said. “It’s a fun thing, a nice little addition to the town.”
According to LittleFreeLibrary.org, Delaware has a dozen other LFL locations. The entire world has about 15,000.
Books donations are welcome. For the LFL East, they can be delivered to Martha Fields, 5 Kewanee Street. For the LFL West, they can be delivered to Lori Cicero, 311 W. 2nd Street. In both drop-off locations, the donations can just be left by the front door.