Little Free Lending Library

Imagine your hometown as a place where books are readily available just up the block or around the corner 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That’s what The Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library (RHPL) is trying to create by inviting the neighborhoods, businesses and homeowners of Rochester Hills, Rochester, and Oakland Township to provide a Little Free Lending Library across those communities.

Little Lending Library

Little Lending Library

Popular throughout the country, these small, wooden libraries (they look like a miniature house front), are often seen on street corners, in subdivision parks, on neighborhood cul-de-sacs or in owner’s front yards. They provide a free book exchange for children, teens and/or adults in a safe, neighborhood setting.

Marcia Decker, a long-time Friends member, is spearheading the effort. “These little boxes are not meant to take the place of the main RHPL city library,” she said, “but instead, provide a convenient and close location to pick up a book to read or drop one off to share.”

Ron Meegan, the president of the Friends, said the group supported Decker’s plan because “it was an obvious extension of what the Friends are all about, augmenting the Library’s operations with volunteer programs and fund-raising efforts.”

A fully constructed Little Free Lending Library, complete with post and installation instructions is now available at RHPL’s Library Store, 500 Olde Towne in downtown Rochester. A sample is on display there. The units cost $295 each, sales tax-free. Orders should ordinarily be filled in 1-2 weeks, longer if demand is high.

Buyers are then notified to pick up the purchase at the Rochester Hills home of a volunteer. Sponsors/buyers get a list of frequently asked questions and answers and usage tips. Buyers/owners can paint, varnish or otherwise embellish it, choose a location, dig a hole and stock and maintain the books (with some help, if needed, from the Friends’ donated used book collection activities).

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