Marsha Chartrand

New “Little Free Library” comes to town

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Manchester’s newest Little Free Library is at 400 E. Main Street, next to the home of Rick Finger and Eileen Parker.

The Little Free Library (LFL) movement started in 2009 and has already grown to a network of more than 50,000 “libraries” worldwide. There have been a few LFLs placed in Manchester over the past few years, notably at Chi-Bro Park and Linda’s Diner both maintained by the Friends of the Library, but the newest one at 400 E. Main Street (next to the Blacksmith Shop) is definitely a don’t-miss stop.

Rick Finger and Eileen Parker, the caretakers for this Little Free Library, have lived in Manchester for more than 30 years.

“Our family loves to read,” Eileen said. “A book-loving friend gave me two books she thought I’d like and said just pass them on when you’re done or drop them at a Little Free Library. That’s when I discovered the LFL movement and fell in love with the idea.

“We have the perfect place in our side yard, so my dear husband built the library and the bench and I painted them.  And presto! The East Main LFL appeared.”

The brightly painted library box contains a children’s section (and over-sized books) on the left and two more sections for adults on the right.  The top shelf usually has mysteries; the bottom shelf has a mix of other titles.

A matching bench, flowers, and a brick platform to stand on complete the tableau and create an inviting place to browse or even sit and read a “borrowed” book.

The books are free, and anyone may use it. If you see something you’d like to read, take it! When you finish a book, you can pass it along to a friend or return it to this library or any other Little Free Library. “The whole point is to discover new books and share them with friends, neighbors and passersby,” Eileen explains.

The addition of a bench last week combined with a visit to River Raisin Antiques, gave Eileen the idea of using a traditional silhouette of Nancy Drew with a spy glass to decorate the bench ends. “Anyone of a certain age would recognize it instantly, I think,” she says.

The couple also plan to paint windows on the sides of the LFL and have a light inside for the fall/winter when it gets dark so early.

If you have books to donate, but the library is full, you may leave donations in a plastic bag on the front porch, and they will be added as necessary to keep the books circulating.

“We’ve seen a lot of people stop and browse,” Eileen says. “Books are changing daily as people take and leave them.  Kids have discovered it too, and what a delight it is to see them walk up with a parent or ride up on their bikes and look for something good to read.”

Eileen also plans to create a Facebook page for the LFL, so people can leave comments or make suggestions, and she can make announcements about books or anything else special that people may find in the LFL. Watch for the Facebook page announcement!

You are welcome to visit this lovely enhancement to our community. For more information on the Little Free Library movement, see their website at littlefreelibrary.org.

Editors Note: this article has been updated to indicate that Manchester’s two original LFLs are maintained by Manchester District Library’s, Friends of the Library.

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