SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Hundreds of students at the Central School in South Berwick streamed onto the school’s front lawn last week for the unveiling of a new micro-library.
The small library-like display is called a Little Free Library. It is a handcrafted wood booth in which students and community members can check out, drop off, and donate books at their convenience.
The Little Free Library, positioned in the front of the school grounds close to Main Street, is completely on the honor system.
“It’s really a box of books that can be located anywhere in the community,” said Jenn Bogard, a literacy coach at Central School and the Great Works School who wrote the grant for the project. “Anyone can take a book, leave a book, keep the book.”
A second Little Free Library in South Berwick will be unveiled at the Great Works School on June 9.
South Berwick’s two new Little Free Libraries come thanks to the efforts of Bogard and her friend Shane Chick. The Marshwood Education Foundation provided the funding.
“Jen wrote the grant for this,” said Chick. “She brought me on for the hands-on stuff, the actual building of it.”
Bogard submitted a $1,000 grant to the foundation last fall. Student’s at the pre-K through third grade school helped with the grant by submitting opinion pieces about where a Little Free Library should be placed. The final location was chosen using the students’ suggestions.
The Marshwood Education Foundation has awarded more than $60,000 in grants since its founding in 2009. The foundation awards the grants, which are available in the fall and spring, by surprising the recipients with giant checks during its biannual “Price Patrol.”
Last Tuesday’s Little Free Library unveiling ceremony took place at 2 p.m. Students of the Central School sat on the front lawn as community members, teachers, and students spoke about the Little Free Library.
Chick’s daughter, Mia Chick, 7, was invited to read a poem during the ceremony. She chose to read Barbara A. Hall’s “The Library.”
After Mia’s poem, 12 students stood up holding informational posters explaining the concept of a little free library. They took the microphone one at a time to help explain the concept to their fellow students.
Several teachers also stood in front of the students to offer their thoughts.
After all the speakers, 6-year-old kindergartener Ethan Waddell was given the honor of cutting the ribbon to unveil the Little Free Library.
Waddell was chosen because at his sixth birthday in March, he decided to ask his friends not to bring him any presents, but instead to bring books to be donated to the Little Free Library.
When Ethan cut the ribbon and lifted the sheet unveiling South Berwick’s first ever Little Free Library, dozens of students cheered while they charged up to the installation to get a close-up view.
The Little Free Library looks like a large handcrafted wooden birdhouse. But instead of birds, it holds books for students and community members to read and share.
Bogard said she hopes the unveiling of the Little Free Library and this week’s unveiling at the Great Works School will lead to other Little Free Libraries in South Berwick.
“I am hoping they pop up all over town,” she said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services