Little Free Libraries spring up in Dorchester

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Posted 6/6/17

CAMBRIDGE — More than flowers are coming out of the ground this spring in Dorchester County. Cambridge’s first Little Free Library has been sighted at the intersection of Locust Street and …

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Little Free Libraries spring up in Dorchester


CAMBRIDGE — More than flowers are coming out of the ground this spring in Dorchester County. Cambridge’s first Little Free Library has been sighted at the intersection of Locust Street and Glenbum Avenues. Along with new walking trails, a Little Free Library has also been spotted at the entrance to Friendship Park in East New Market.

The Little Free Library movement originated in Hudson, Wis. when Tod H. Bol repurposed some old barn doors into a replica one room school, filled it with books, affixed a door, mounted it onto a post and placed it in his yard as a way of honoring his mother who loved to read and had recently passed away.

It wasn’t long before similar creations began to appear not only in Wisconsin but elsewhere. There are currently more than 50,000 Little Free Libraries around the world. Each library when registered is assigned a registration number enabling that library to appear on the Google worldwide map of Little Free Libraries. The mission of Little Free Libraries is to promote literacy and community. Take a book — leave a book. It’s as simple as that. They belong to no one — they belong to everyone.

“Just happened to see this driving by. Love the idea! I left 2, took 1.”

The first Little Free Library appeared in Dorchester County in 2015 when retired special education teacher and counselor, Debbie White, introduced the idea to the Woolford Community. As with the two newest libraries, the Woolford community didn’t hesitate to support the idea. Located at the entrance of the Woolford General Store the library has an active and loyal following of both residents and passers by.

Newly-arrived Cambridge resident, Essie Keyser, upon realizing the county has only two public libraries decided the time was right to bring the Little Free Libraries to Dorchester County.

“Thanks for being here! Dropped off 4 books. Enjoy!"

With enthusiastic support from Cambridge residents and businesses, the Little Free Libraries in Cambridge and East New Market came on board in April. When approached with the idea Kevin Hill of Hill-Kimmel Construction in downtown Cambridge signed on to donate the necessary materials and manpower. Mike Dailidenas and C.J. Wiley applied their skills and talents and produced two cedar shake, copper clad (Libraries. Thomas and Amanda Robinson of Thomas’ Fine Jeweler’s, also located in downtown Cambridge, engraved the beautiful brass dedication plaques which adorn the libraries. According to Essie Keyser, “When I attempted to pay for the plaques they refused to take my credit card.”

“Debbie White,” according to Ms. Keyser, “has been my mentor throughout this process and through the generosity of the Little Free Library in Woolford along with donations from Claudia, Naomi and Issac Fenstermaker donated the books for both of the latest libraries. Barbara Harp helped to select books as well as serve as the steward for the library located on Glenburn Avenue. Elissa Crouch and her red truck provided the transportation to deliver the finished product. All of this in keeping with the mission of building community from within and from one to another.”

“Will read and return. Great idea.”

Unbeknownst to one another and never having met Ruth Clendenial, well-known retired teacher and principal in Dorchester County had also been working on her own Little Free Library project representing the Dorchester Retired Teachers Association. As a result of her efforts Dorchester County can look forward to 10 additional Little Free Libraries in the near future to be strategically placed throughout the County.

“The possibilities with these libraries are endless” said Essie Keyser. “Schools can have children design bookmarks. There are even possibilities to have children and local artists design and decorate a library. Communities can get together and create their own design for a library which reflects the flavor of their community. Each community can make their library work for them.”

According to Ruth Clendenial, plans are currently in the works to have Little Free Libraries popping up in Vienna, Secretary, Hoopers Island, South Dorchester, and Rhodesdale as well as other areas of Cambridge. Individuals, schools, churches, and neighborhoods are all working to create a Little Free Library in their community. “It is exciting to see them appear across Dorchester County.”

“I just saw this and it’s awesome.”






cambridge, featured, woolford
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