By Mary Windsor, Staff Writer
Published in print Apr. 22, 2015
The Little Free Library initiative follows the concept similar to “take a penny, give a penny,” but with books instead of tiny copper coins.
In Greensboro, Little Free Libraries can be found throughout Walker and the Lindley Park Neighborhood, and now, several new libraries have been established in the College Hill area.
College Place United Methodist Church, located on the edge of Tate Street and Spring Garden, has been involved with the university in many ways, the most prominent being their “Wonderful Wednesday” program, which offers a free meal to the community and college students.
Three UNCG alumni from the church were the reason and inspiration for the Little Free Libraries that now reside in the children’s park on Spring Garden.
“Several of us had seen Little Free Libraries and read about them,” Carol Deaton explains, “and we were inspired to create one for our side of the community.”
Carol Deaton, Pam Farlow and Wanda Halloway Szenasy Ray were the three masterminds behind the project that began late in the summer of 2014. They soon began researching and planning to build the two Little Free Libraries they had in mind.
“As a church we decided we needed to make this happen,” Deaton said, and the three of them used donation money to fund the adult library and a member of the congregation donated the entire amount for the children’s library.
There were two reasons why they were so set on these little libraries.
They wanted to encourage people to read and continue leaving books, and as a church, they wanted this to become an outreach to the College Hill community.
The Little Free Libraries were ordered from littlefreelibrary.org and came constructed and unpainted so that the church organization could have full liberty on the designs used.
Local artist, UNCG alumnus and daughter of one of the Little Free Library advocates, Catherine Deaton, painted the little libraries based on the designs the church chose.
The church did not want to have a blatant symbol of Christianity as it could turn potential readers away.
Instead they chose a butterfly, a more obscure religious symbol, for the adult library and a bookmark that wrapped around the children’s library.
Deaton said they wanted the libraries to be colorful and appealing to attract people in the community and be relatable to all audiences.
They chose the children’s park in College Hill because they wanted it to be in a visible location so people would see and use them.
The original books placed in the Little Free Libraries were donated by the congregation of the church but have now mostly been inter-swapped with those from the community. Two members of the church look and keep after the little libraries, making sure the books are well-stocked and kept in shape.
“We’re so pleased people are using them,” Deaton said, “It has worked extremely well.”