Imagine a library that provides books 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No registration is required. There are no forms to fill out, and no late fees are charged.
The procedure is simple: Take a book and/or leave a book.
“They are for anyone who wanders by who has a great love of books. They can take one or leave one,” said Ben Johnson, executive director of the Parkside Community Association.
The organization runs the Little Library program in the Parkside neighborhood of Buffalo. In the program, small boxes filled with books are installed at various locations for readers to take or leave what they want.
After announcing the program in November, the association officially launched the unique book-lending initiative Tuesday afternoon at 310 Woodward Ave. – one of 10 Little Library locations.
The boxes stand on 4-inch-by-4-inch posts, are weather-resistant and accessible to everyone.
The 10 stations have been situated throughout the Parkside neighborhood on public rights of way. They were installed with pedestrian traffic in mind near the major thoroughfares of Parkside Avenue and Main Street.
Johnson said book donations came from as far away as Orchard Park. Talking Leaves bookstore donated nine cases of books.
Block club members or other volunteers will check the small structures routinely to restock the books, to make sure no unwanted items such as pornography or commercial advertisements have been added, and to make sure the structures are not defaced by vandals.
The 10 boxes were handcrafted by Megan McNally, owner of Rusted Grain. She builds furniture out of reclaimed wood primarily taken from construction projects and demolitions of houses in the city.
Each of the 10 Little Library boxes is unique and has its own story, McNally said. Each has a different roof. Some are made out of metal or asphalt.
“The asphalt came from my roof I redid this past year,” she said.
Delaware Council Member Michael LoCurto provided $5,000 to the association for the project. Half of the funding paid for construction of the boxes, and the other half was used to pour the foundations, Johnson said.
The association plans to help other communities get started.
In addition to the 310 Woodward Ave. location, other Little Library installations in Parkside are at: 60 Agassiz Circle.; 28 Elam Place; 120 Greenfield St.; 461 Woodward Ave.; 73 Crescent Ave.; 94 Jewett Parkway.; the former Fairfield Library site at 1659 Amherst St.; 157 Woodward Ave.; and 36 Tillinghast Place.
For more information, visit the association website at www.parksidebuffalo.org.