‘Little Free Library’ in Southport

JULIE GOLDMAN, with her daughter Esther next to the gardens at the Main Drain Parkway. And no, that’s not a birdhouse. The mini-library sits along the Main Drain Parkway, which has been taken over by community 'geurilla gardeners' who share the planting as well as the harvest. (News-Ledger photo)


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Those creative folks living next to the Main Drain Parkway in Southport have come up with something new to the city.

They’ve installed a “little free library” about as big as a good-size birdhouse.

“My husband heard about the idea on NPR, and he came home and told me about it. I was super-excited,” said Julie Goldman, who lives near the Venice Street garden site that’s now home to the library. She and her daughter Esther, age 2 ½, met a reporter there on Monday.

  Goldman helped get the little lending library built. One helper was a nearby neighbor, Chris Peek, who teaches wood shop at a Woodland school.

“We told him, ‘if you build it, we’ll decorate it,’” said Goldman. He did, and they did. They used cheap and recycled materials: total cost, about $20. The bookshelf now holds about two dozen books.

“Most of them are from me,” said Goldman. “I talked to the West Sacramento library, and they also put aside a few gardening books for us. I’ve been putting a whole bunch of kids’ books in there.”

Anyone can take a book. They’re encouraged to take a book to read, and leave another.

“Basically, it’s ‘take a book and then return any book.’ Ideally, I’d like people to return a different book. Sometimes I’ll come here and there will be new books here, and I don’t know where they come from,” said Goldman.

Any problems with the “honor system” since the library opened in August?

“They said, ‘oh, the teenagers are going to steal it,’” recalled Goldman. “But so far, so good.”

The library is mounted child-height in the middle of the community’s “guerilla garden” – an informal spot where neighbors grow produce along the Main Drain Canal, and share in both the work and the harvest.

Are there plans to build more “little free libraries” in other neighborhoods around West Sacramento?
“It would be so fun to have West Sacramento become known for all its little libraries,” answered Goldman. “Sometimes I’ll see kids in the neighborhood and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I got a book from here!”

As she spoke to a reporter, up walked a woman and child who walked from a nearby street. They were carrying a book to lend to the library.

There’s more information on the “Little Free Library” concept at www.LittleFreeLibrary.org.

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One Response to ‘Little Free Library’ in Southport

  1. […] met Julie Goldman in 2007 when we were both teaching in the English department at C.K. McClatchy (CKM) High School. […]

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