The first Little Free Library in the borough of Staten Island made its appearance on Sunday, January 27th on the grounds outside of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island. The motto of this library is Take a book, Return a book or Keep it Forever.
The library was sponsored and created by members and friends of the Unitarian Church who meet regularly for small group ministry. During their meetings, the group shares important milestones and insights with each other and chooses a service project to work on together that will benefit the wider community.
Providing a little free library for the neighborhood appealed to the group, because the Unitarian Church building once housed the first public library in Staten Island. The stewardship of this project will continue the church’s tradition of promoting a love of books and a free exchange of ideas.
Church friend and carpenter Alan Kindler spearheaded the design and building of the library. Using recycled and salvaged materials, the outside box is built to resemble a one-room house on a post in the same arts and crafts style of the Unitarian Church. The collection of books will be an eclectic mix of genres for both children and adults. The church hopes it will be a treasure for the neighborhood.
The concept for this community library is simple: take a book, keep it or return it. There are no due dates, late fees, or library cards required, and the doors are open every day of the week. The library is a way for the church to serve a need in the community twenty-four hours a day.
Kindler was inspired to bring the library project to the church after hearing about the Little Free Library Movement which began in Wisconsin. According to the website, www.littlefreelibrary.org, founders Todd Bol and Rick Brooks placed the first Little Free Library outside an art gallery in Madison in 2010. The mission of the Little Free Library is to promote literacy and community by encouraging the building and placing of these little boxes of books around the world. The organization’s initial goal was to break the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s record of funding 2,509 free libraries a century ago. More than surpassing this goal, the current estimate of Little Free Libraries in the world is more than 5,000 in 36 countries.
The Little Free Library outside of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island will be the first one listed in the borough and the second one in New York City. According to the website, the next closest Little Free Library is housed in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.
For information, call 718-447-2204 or go to the church website at http://www.uucsi.org