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Lend a little


A unique book-sharing program for neighborhoods is on its way to OKC.

Patrick Crain December 19th, 2012

Technology has grown so that the entertainment-delivery systems of past decades seem wholly antiquated.

No matter how high-tech some become, however, pockets exist that opt for a more analog approach. Maybe it’s a hole-in-the-wall diner or a record store stocked with vinyl.

Or maybe it’s the Little Free Library.

Looking like something Laura Ingalls Wilder would have dreamed up as a prairie precursor to Redbox instead of writing the Little House books, the Little Free Library is a nationwide, community-based project that erects waterproof boxes in yards, along country roads and trails, and at other public places. They are filled with books that may be borrowed and returned on the honor system.

Roughly the size of a dollhouse, each library is managed by a steward who oversees installation and upkeep.

“There is quite a bit of interest,” said Jennifer Meckling, programs coordinator at the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma, one of the organizations involved in bringing the initiative to OKC.

The project is also shepherded by the American Institute of Architects Central Oklahoma Chapter, Barnes & Noble Bookstores and the Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere program of Oklahoma County. These organizations have joined forces to promote the establishment of up to 18 Little Free Library

locations in the metro. The first set of books will be donated by Barnes & Noble, with subsequent titles being the responsibility of the steward and the community.

Far from being the drab eyesores many might associate with public-use structures, the boxes can be charming and unique. Some have been fashioned to look like birdhouses or mailboxes — even a British telephone box.

That’s good news for any Doctor Who fan who has longed for a miniature TARDIS in the yard.

The Neighborhood Alliance is currently soliciting applications from locals interested in becoming stewards. The application, with a $35 registration fee, is due Friday.

Once the libraries are completed, they will be on display April 7-13 at JRB Art Gallery at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker.

For more information, call 528- 6322 or visit nacok.org or littlefreelibrary.org.

 
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