Mini library on Main Street promotes reading in Franklin
Those who frequent downtown Franklin may have noticed an odd-looking birdhouse taking up residence outside town hall in recent months, but the white structure isn’t a habitation for birds — it’s for books.
“They’re sort of large birdhouse-style kiosks where books can be available to people wherever they are,” explained Karen Wallace, librarian at Macon County Public Library. “Our library is not in our downtown, and we thought it would be nice to make some reading available on Main Street in downtown Franklin.”
The Little Free Library is a national organization that began in 2009 to make reading more accessible and visible in the community. You don’t need a library card to use the Little Library, and though the kiosks operate off of a loose “take a book, leave a book” philosophy, the push is more for people to take the books and read them.
“These materials are free,” Wallace said. “There’s an assortment of some non-fiction books, some novels, some things for teens and some things for children, just a wide variety.”
About 70 or 80 books fit into Franklin’s new Little Library, depending on the size of the volumes inside. Friends of the Macon Count Library and Read2Me, a community initiative to put books in the hands of children, donated the materials. Volunteers built the structure and the town allowed its installation on its property. The Little Library has been restocked since it opened at the end of October, and books have been both borrowed and donated.
Wallace hopes that people who use the Little Library will come in to find out what’s in the big one, located on 149 Siler Farm Road. And she’s also hoping to see more Little Libraries spring up around the county. She’s already had an inquiry from Iotla United Methodist Church.
“They’re interested partially because they’re right across the street from the elementary school,” Wallace said. “It’s a high-traffic area and they thought it would be a good location.”
By putting those book-laden kiosks in as many places as possible — especially in outlying communities of the county, away from public libraries — she hopes to get Macon County more excited about reading.
“We always like to have people reading,” Wallace said. “We want to encourage people to read, and we want it to be as convenient for them as possible.”
To donate or help put more Little Free Libraries up in Macon County, call the Macon County Public Library at 828.524.3600.