(Submitted by Marci Cameron)
Take a tour of Saline and explore the world through reading!
On Saturday, June 10, families and individuals of all ages are encouraged to travel to any of 11 little libraries. Get your very own Passport to the World of Books stamped along the way. Ride your bike, walk, jog, walk your dog or drive (sorry, no trains or planes available!)
Find out what’s in your community, enjoy an activity around town with friends and family, and promote family reading. Get your Passport stamped at five or more sites and enter a drawing to win great prizes. The collaborating organizations that are contributing planning, resources, and effort (and setting up at the 11 sites on the day) are: City of Saline Arts & Culture Committee, City of Saline Parks & Recreation, Saline Area Schools Community Education, Salt Valley Arts, McNaughton & Gunn, First Presbyterian Church of Saline, Saline District Library and Friends of Saline District Library, and Saline Little Free Library Volunteer Stewards
Little Free Libraries (LFLs) are small boxes – artfully done – that hold books for both children and adults. You can take a book or leave a book – anytime and for free.
The 11 libraries of the Tour are: Saline Recreation Center, McNaughton & Gunn, Community Gardens by Weber-Blaess School House, Liberty School, Brecon Park, Saline City Hall, First Presbyterian Church Garden, Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, Risdon Park, Mill Pond Park, as well as the Corner Book Shop at the Saline District Library.
The purpose of these “Little Free Libraries” (LFLs) is two-fold: To promote literacy and to promote community. Access to books is key to reading; children and people of all ages need to be exposed to books and have books easily available. When a parent or another reads to a child, or when neighbors share a read or add books, the focus is on sharing and communicating.
The beginning of LFLs occurred less than ten years ago when a man named Todd Bol created a Little Free Library in Wisconsin as a tribute to his mother, a dedicated reader and schoolteacher. Interest grew and he soon established the Little Free Library organization. Registered libraries now number in the tens of thousands in all 50 states and around the world.
LFLs began popping up at homes and organizations around Saline. Resident Marci Cameron built one in her front yard on Detroit Street. “When our little library first went up, neighborhood children were so curious and said things like, ‘When is the library open?’ and ‘Can we buy the books?’ We have dog walkers and joggers who stop by to check on the books. I also knew that city parks – with soccer and baseball games – have lots of children and parents nearby. It seemed a perfect match.” So two years ago, a request was made of City Parks & Recreation Department to have LFLs installed in five parks, and City Council approved. In addition, the City’s Arts & Culture Committee funded their purchase and installation. Members of a group of local artists affiliated with 212 Arts Center designed and painted the five boxes to create public art. These truly are works of art. Students of Saline Alternative High School contributed labor to install them. Following those five, a proposal for a CARES grant (Cultural Arts, Recreation, Enrichment, Seniors) through Saline Area Schools funded two more LFLs, which were installed this month.
The Little Free Libraries organization (www.littlefreelibrary.org) distributes a newsletter with ideas, including a library “crawl.” Bringing together interested organizations in Saline was met with enthusiasm.
Sponsors in addition to Collaborating organizations:
- McNaughton & Gunn – Printing of Passports
- Saline Community Education – Printing of Passports
- Saline District Library – Bookmarks, “Build a Better World”
- Busch’s Fresh Food Market – Cases of water bottles for participants
- City of Saline Recreation Center – Printing of Drawing Slips and Lamination
- Four $25 gift certificates to Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, donated by McNaughton & Gunn
- Tote bag donated by Friends of the Saline District Library (SDL)
- Coupon for future one free book to each person who comes to the Corner Book Shop to have their passport stamped, donated by Friends of the SDL
- $10 gift certificate to Carrigan Cafe
- Four $25 gift certificates to Community Education summer classes
- Four $25 gift certificates for Saline Recreation Center summer classes
- $10 gift certificate to Brewed Awakenings Café
- $10 gift certificate to Dairy Queen
- $15 gift certificate to Saline Farmers Market
Saturday, June 10, 10 am-2 pm
Kicks off your summer reading with maps, bookmarks, treats, great prize drawings PLUS interesting books to read. Donations of books to stock the libraries are welcome. Pick up your Passport at a Little Library and start your Tour.