David Carr wants adults to read and to talk about what they’re reading.
“Adults need to be readers,” he said. “When they are readers, they have things to talk about, they have other lives to occupy, alternative realities to return to. Over time there will be those books that capture the imagination and heart.”
That’s part of the reason the retired University of North Carolina professor of library sciences built a “Little Free Library” at the entrance to his driveway on Lost Forest Drive.
Carr said that building dollhouses for his daughters prepared him for constructing the unit, and it was his daughter who convinced him to build a little library, which he did in May 2013.
“She sent me a link [online] on how to start Little Free Libraries,” he said. “I looked at it and thought about it, and realized I could do that. I have a book or two I could share; in fact, there are thousands of books in this house. So I decided it would be a good thing.”
Recently, he added a bench for folks to sit on while they’re browsing the 45 or so books in the little library.
Little Free Libraries started in 2009 when a Wisconsin man built one in his yard in honor of his mother, a former teacher who loved to read. The idea is that members of the community are welcome to take books and leave books for others, all for free.
That idea became a nonprofit organization, with a goal of 2,510 Little Libraries. The goal was reached in 2012, and by January 2014, it was estimated that at least 15,000 of the little boxes existed around the world. The website littlefreelibrary.org gives details and resources on how to get one
Carr is officially the “steward” of his little library, meaning he maintains the structure and keeps it stocked. He says that while he has placed some of his personal books in the library, he buys a lot of them – for less than $2 – at Goodwill and library book sales.
“Almost all of these are books I’ve read,” he said. “I don’t put things in here I don’t have some trust in. I’ve gotten a few things that people have dropped off that are really quite good.” Carr says he does ask that folks not leave items like used textbooks or how-to books.
Just about a mile away from Carr’s library is a new one that stands near the entrance to the Abernathy Greenway.
Sandy Springs resident and Westminster Schools freshman Bryan Weselman built it in September as an Eagle Scout project.
He says he got the idea from his father’s co-worker, whose mother is a member of the Brandon Mill Woods book club and lives in the home on the park. Weselman got permission from the city to use the lot it had acquired at the park’s entrance.
The lot’s previous owner, Peggy Feldman, donated two benches and a statue to accompany the little library, which Weselman built with help from his father, brother and a couple of friends.
Like Carr’s library, it’s built to be watertight and weatherproof.
Weselman painted it light blue, “because it’s like the sky,” he said. At Feldman’s request, he added butterflies and sunflowers, and then he decided to also add a caterpillar to match the greenway’s playable sculptures. Book club members will serve as the library’s stewards.
“I think it’s a good way to promote reading, and it also promotes actual paper books instead of tablets,” Weselman said. “And, it’s a good way the community can share instead of going and buying books.”
Weselman’s library contains a mix of children’s and adult’s books, so “adults can sit and read while their children play in the park,” he said.
And has Weselman checked out any of his library’s offerings?
“Yes,” he said, “I checked out ‘Dreamcatcher’ by Stephen King.”