Little Free Libraries spread throughout Carmel

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Sarah Tinaphong, House of Books co-president and junior, examines a book from a Free Little Library at West Park. Tinaphong said these libraries serve as a convenient source of new books. ALEX YOM / PHOTO

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Last May, the Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL) partnered with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation and Clay Township to introduce Little Free Libraries to three places in Carmel: the John W. Hensel Government Center, West Park and Founders Park, monitored weekly by CCPL.

“Take a book, return a book”—Little Free Library’s saying—essentially sums up the procedure. In essence, Little Free Libraries are boxes of books, and anyone can take a book or bring a book to put in and share. Over time, as books are taken and new books are added, the assortment is always shifting and changing.

Sarah Tinaphong, House of Books co-president and junior, examines a book from a Free Little Library at West Park. Tinaphong said these libraries serve as a convenient source of new books. ALEX YOM / PHOTO
Sarah Tinaphong, House of Books co-president and junior, examines a book from a Free Little Library at West Park. Tinaphong said these libraries serve as a convenient source of new books. ALEX YOM / PHOTO

CCPL Communications Manager Beth Jenneman said the new Little Free Libraries help connect the community through reading and exchanging books.

“It’s a way for the community to make books and reading their own. The library does belong to the community, but these Little Free Libraries are a way for people to share the books they love with fellow members of their community directly because you bring your books there, and people take them and read them,” Jenneman said.

Sarah Tinaphong, House of Books co-vice president and junior, has started utilizing these new Little Free Libraries. According to Tinaphong, unlike a normal library, the Little Free Libraries let you see what other people in the community enjoy reading.

Tinaphong said, “I think overall just the whole idea of the libraries is really unique, even for students, because it lets you have personal connections with other readers that the library doesn’t. At our typical library, we just check out books for yourself and return them, that kind of stuff, but here, you can actually drop off your favorite books and kind of connect with other kids in the school and with other people in the community just by sharing your favorite books and reading some of your peers’ favorites as well.”

Sophomore Anna Ding, as an avid reader, said she would like to try out the Little Free Libraries.

Ding said, “I’ll take advantage of this because I sometimes (run) out of series to read, and sometimes it’s just really awkward to go around and ask people (for) their recommendations. With this, I can just go over to a (Little Free Library) and get out a book I might want to try.”

Tinaphong said, “I hope that (students) will use them…I know that lots of kids have a favorite book they really want to share, but with a normal library, you can’t really do that very well, so hopefully, students will look into this and realize that it’s a really neat way to share your passion for reading with your own community.”

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