Take a book, leave a book
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
It won’t be long before residents of Atmore and the surrounding area will be able to go to the library, without going to the library.
Atmore Public Library and Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce are partnering to bring three Little Free Library outlets to the city in order to make books more accessible to local students and casual readers.
“Each one is a sharing library,” APL Director Hope Lassiter explained. “The way it works, or the way it’s supposed to work, is that a person takes a book and leaves one in its place.”
According to its website, Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization formed to “inspire a love of reading, build community and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”
Lassiter pointed out that although APL is a partner in the project, the individual alternative libraries — which are for children and adults — won’t be a part of the public library system.
“A lot of people are under the impression that we are responsible for the whole thing,” the library director said. “We’re going to get them started, but someone else will be in charge of them.”
Emily Harp, the Chamber’s executive director, said that part of the plan has been taken care of.
“Mandie Thompson has volunteered to be the steward,” Harp said. “She’ll make sure they are stocked, that the books are not ratty or inappropriate and that there are no structural problems with the libraries.”
The book repositories, which are in the shape of a school house, are being built, at no cost to the Chamber or library, by Chapman Maxwell of Maxwell Construction.
“He is volunteering his time and materials,” Lassiter said. “He has really stepped up to the plate.”
Harp said 12-year-old Atmore resident Nolin Godwin, a marine photography student now studying in South Florida under Guy Harvey, will put the finishing touches on the mini-libraries by custom painting each one.
Plans are to place one in northern Atmore, one in southern Atmore and one near the center of the city. Among the suggestions received so far are that they be placed at Tom Byrne Park, Houston Avery Park and Heritage Park, but a final decision has not been reached.
Lassiter said she worries that vandals might target the little libraries, but hopes that won’t happen.
“I’m excited about it and I will try to stay optimistic,” she said. “Actually, I’m really optimistic. This will be something great for our community.”