Give And Take

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It’s a little box that has a big effect.

Two Little Free Libraries have been erected in the Village of Westbury and in New Cassel, with the aim of giving residents increased access to books.

Accomplished through a partnership with the Village of Westbury, the Westbury Memorial Public Library installed the libraries—small wooden boxes with a glass window in the front, mounted on top of a wooden pole—outside the Recreation Center at 348 Post Ave. and the “Yes We Can” Center at 141 Garden St.

“We’re really happy to be doing this. It’s great for literacy and an outreach program to get to the community when the library’s not open,” said library director Colleen McCrea. “The whole idea is take a book and give a book back.”

McCrea said the feedback so far has been good and that the idea of a free book exchange is catching on slowly. The little free library operates on an honor system, and McCrea said they don’t yet have a way of tracking donations. But library staff do check each week to make sure the boxes are filled with enough books.

Patrons can keep the book they take out of the library if they wish and are encouraged to leave another one in its place. But McCrea asked that people not leave books—in boxes, bags, etc—outside of the library, as they could fall victim to the elements.

“If people want to donate books in fairly good condition, we’ll take them at the public library,” said McCrea.

There are adult books in the free library, but McCrea noted that most of the titles are geared toward children.

“It’s for all ages, but we’re hoping to catch the younger generation,” she said. “So kids who can’t maybe get to the library can go there.”

According to the Little Free Library organization’s official website, as of November 2016, there were more than 50,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries around the world. While the libraries have been noted to have a positive impact on literacy, the website also notes that the book exchanges allow opportunities for residents to meet others who live in their community.

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Betsy Abraham is senior managing editor at Anton Media Group and editor of The Westbury Times. She also writes for Long Island Weekly.

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