In Charlotte, Little Libraries are a Big Way to Grow Community
Joy Parks relishes one of the most rewarding kind of do-it-yourself projects – building little readers at her Charlotte day care, Joyland Home Day Care.
So this year, when a librarian from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library stopped by for a visit, she noticed how much Joy’s kids loved to read and respected books. Joy, she thought, was the perfect candidate for a Little Free Library.
Now, Parks is part of a growing national movement in which everyday folks erect wooden outdoor boxes that hold 30 or so books. Anyone is welcome to check out the books. Anyone is welcome to contribute their own books.
“I really love it, because it brings the community together,” Parks says. “I see my neighbors on the weekend and through the week stopping by.”
Joyland’s little library features not only children’s books, but books for teens and adults. Because Parks has her little library through the big public library program, she has no expenses. The library supplies all the materials and books. Residents may choose to build their own, or you could find a highly rated Charlotte-area carpenter to help.
The community, she says, does the same. Joy sees moms on strollers and kids on bikes, stopping by to borrow and contribute books.
Parks’ wooden library – “I love the wood smell,” she says - holds a few dozen books, maybe more if the books are small. Little Free Library sells a large variety of “libraries,” included custom painted boxes, ranging from $192-$800. The website also offers lots of free plans, tips and tricks for the DIY crowd, including step-by-step instructions and suggestions for the best location.
If you’d like to have someone help you personalize or install your own little library, try a Charlotte handyman.
Joy Parks’ little library is on the corner of her property, she says, which allows her to see all the people who enjoy building their own readers, little or big.
“It’s the perfect thing,” she says.