New Bern Parks & Recreation is celebrating several new additions to its Little Free Library (LFL) program.
On Saturday, April 7 at 10 a.m. at Seth West Parrot Park, 1225 Pinetree Drive, the city will open its newest pop-up library. This event kicks off a week-long celebration of National Library Week, April 8-14, the city announced in a news release.
Little Free Library is a global nonprofit organization. According to its website, its mission is to inspire a love of reading, build community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. The idea behind the program is simple: communities, churches, businesses or other organizations build a sturdy library box in a convenient location, identify a steward or sponsor of the box, and oversee its maintenance. Then, the public is invited to “take a book, leave a book” without worrying about having access to a library or paying for overdue book returns. The program is popular in tourist locales, recreational neighborhoods, waterfront communities, parks, and cities and towns with growing families.
New Bern has two LFLs. One is located at Union Point Park and the other at West New Bern Presbyterian Church on Lucerne Way. The Union Point Park library box fell into disrepair over the years and was recently refurbished. Now, it’ll be joined by a brand new LFL so that the park will have a box for kids and a box for adults.
Four other Little Free Library boxes are also popping up around the city: Seth West Parrot Park at Kidsville (1225 Pinetree Drive), the New Bern Police Department (601 George St.), Pleasant Hill Park (427 Highway 55 West), and Stanley White Recreation Center (901 Chapman St.).
All are welcome at the Saturday event, especially parents, families and kids. Children are encouraged to dress up as their favorite book character and to bring a new or gently used book to help stuff the Little Free Library. Kids will go home with a special goody bag while supplies last. You can also have your picture taken with Booker the Bear and paint a friendship rock to add to the rock garden at the base of the LFL! In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held inside West New Bern Recreation Center, adjacent to Kidsville.
New Bern Parks & Recreation has partnered with the Friends of the New Bern Craven County Library to open these Little Free Libraries. The partnership brought several volunteers and businesses together to construct the new library boxes, paint them, and supply an initial set of books. Parks & Rec and Friends of the Library give credit to Shop Class, New Bern Historical Society, Garris-Evans Lumber, Mitchell Hardware, Precision Moulding & Woodwork Company, R.E. Bengel Sheet Metal Company, and Community Artists Gallery & Studios, Inc. Also, the Sun Journal donated five recycled newspaper boxes to use as LFLs.
Interested in sponsoring a Little Free Library? Kits can be purchased from the organization’s website, custom built, or repurposed from other materials. Businesses or organizations who sponsor one must identify a steward to maintain the box and replenish the book supply when it gets low. Before placing a little free library within city limits, please contact our Development Services office at 252-639-7580.