Spreading the love of reading

Published 12:00 pm Monday, July 11, 2016

By Allen Brewer


This summer, go on a vacation with your imagination with the help of the two new Little Free Libraries that where installed in Oxford last Friday.

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Little Free Libraries are the small birdhouse looking structures that hold books for citizens to borrow for free. Located in public areas, LFL offers readers the chance to take books home and bring them back later without late fees.

Two new libraries, sponsored by ProMatura Group, have been placed near the C.B. Webb Housing Authority and at  Oxford Wheel Estate on South 18th Street. The new libraries are located next to O.U.T. bus stops to allow citizens to check out books while they wait for the bus.

“We wanted to make it possible for anyone in the community to get a book,” project supporter and community volunteer, Dr. Ken Wooten, said. “We’re interested in promoting reading to open a world to learning.”

Three LFL’s have already been located in Oxford in Avent Park, Stone Park and Price Hill. Two of these libraries have been registered with the National Little Free Library organization and can be found online on the littlefreelibrary.org map.

West gets ball rolling

The project in Oxford was originally organized by Brenda West, who saw LFL’s on vacation and brought the idea to her book club. West and her Round Table book club, with the help of the Oxford Park Commission, started with one library, then the idea spread.  One had been installed in Avent Park at the same time West was on vacation last September.

“People like me who love to read want to share that love of reading with others,” West said.  “Members of our book club enthusiastically share thoughts on books each month, and we were more than excited about sharing our enthusiasm with others.”

Citizens are sure to see the bright colored, festively decorated boxes. The libraries work on a “take one, donate one” basis, and the public is encouraged to take a book and leave another so that everyone gets a chance to read. Each library will contain a variety of reading levels.  The books for the libraries are donated from the book clubs, public library, and individuals in the area. Readers can also donate books for the LFL by dropping books off at ProMatura, located on North Lamar.

“I think any way to get books in the hands of people is a good thing,” Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library youth service librarian and assistant branch head, Nancy Opalko, said.

Other LFL locations

The first LFL in Lafayette County was placed at the Taylor Town Hall in 2014. One was recently placed at the Town Hall in Abbeville.

“You never know when or how a book might touch someone or open a new door,” West said.  “These little free libraries make it easy for people to grab a book or leave one for someone else. Helping to develop good reading habits will only strengthen the use of our public library.”

For more information on the national Little Free Library initiative, visit https://littlefreelibrary.org.