By Patricia Bogumil
Waterford has a nice big public library. Now it has a nice little one, too.
The first Little Free Library in Racine County recently opened outside Bon Voyage Cruise & Vacations, 116 N. Milwaukee St., Waterford.
It is housed in a hand-painted bright blue box that offers an assortment of donated books suitable for readers of all ages.
The idea behind the Little Free Library is simple: take a book now and return a book later, explained Pam Belden, director for the Waterford Public Library.
Anyone is welcome to just walk up to the box, she said, take home a book they’d like to read and then return it back when finished or donate another book in its place.
A library card is not needed. There are no fees, no fines and the Little Free Library is open for business 24/7/365.
Last week, Lauren Kost, 8, and her sister Jacquelyn, 5, made their first visit to the Little Free Library.
They came bearing gifts of kids and baby books they no longer want.
They also brought books given by their mom, Jannah Kost, who is a member of the Waterford library board.
“These have been in the closet for, like, five years,” explained Lauren.
Most books offered in the library box that day were for adult readers, but the girls did pick out a couple of interesting children’s books they took home.
The Little Free Library is a gift to the community from the Friends of the Waterford Library in memory of Ray Liebl, Belden’s father, whom she describes as a huge advocate of reading and libraries.
Local artist Lynn Spleas painted the box to illustrate special things all about Liebl – his travels, hobbies, interests and family.
Waterford’s little library is one in a worldwide network of Little Free Libraries, a concept that was started three years ago by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis.
“These little libraries are the coolest things,” said Belden. “My mom did two of these in my hometown in Dad’s memory earlier this year, and they have been very popular. People stop by all day long.”
To find out more about the Little Free Libraries, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org