The Merrimac neighborhood in Westfield will soon have a new addition. A Little Free Library is set to be unveiled at 4 p.m. Sept. 24.
“My children and I have often enjoyed perusing and borrowing materials from lending libraries/Little Free Libraries and have been for several years as we are avid readers,” Merrimac resident Ashley Robinson said. “We always check them out when we come across them at parks, state parks, even shopping centers, and really enjoy borrowing books or magazines that we may not have otherwise chosen at our local library.
“We also donate many of our books to those which we borrow from, so, I decided to ask the HOA board about a library for our neighborhood.”
The HOA board agreed to purchase a pre-built Free Little Library, which ensures it is registered with the Little Free Library nonprofit and comes with a charter sign included.
“By being registered with Little Free Library, our library is joining a network of over 150,000, which can be found via the LFL app/website,” Robinson said.
When the Little Free Library arrived, Robinson and her children painted it and worked with another neighbor to install it at the neighborhood clubhouse. She also coordinated the celebration.
“Hopefully (to) build some excitement about having this in our community,” she said. “I, with the help of my children, will be the steward of the library making sure it is maintained and stocked with appropriate materials.”
The neighborhood event will feature the theme, “Popcorn and Pages with Professor Watermelon”.
“So, we will have popcorn and hear a story or two read by local author and storyteller, Professor Watermelon, along with a few other surprise visitors,” Robinson said. “I am also encouraging attendees to bring a book to donate to help build our library and we’ll also, hopefully, hear a few words from our‘surprise guest visitors.”
Professor Watermelon, whose real name is Chadwick Gillenwater, said he supports Free Little Libraries because of how then power they have to bring communities together and the “welcoming and fun vibe they provide.”
“As Professor Watermelon, I wholeheartedly believe in nurturing a culture of reading and learning, which makes this a great opportunity for me to show my support,” he said. “A great book activates all five senses. Because of this, your mind is transported into the lives of the characters on the page. This type of imagination activation is something that other media like movies and video games can’t quite do. If you can provide opportunities for children to experience this kind of magic, then you have opened their worlds to endless possibility. Free Little Libraries provide this opportunity.”
The Merrimac Free Little Library will have books for all ages and genres, depending on what is donated.
“The motto for Little Free Library is ‘Take a book, share a book,’ so this is all about making books accessible and then passing them on to others. It isn’t absolutely necessary to share a book in order to take one,” Robinson said. “If neighbors take a book or two from a little library, we hope they’ll will try to bring some to share if they can. I have also been entering book giveaways via the LFL website with the hope of winning books for our library.”