‘Little lending library’ contest is underway in Eastpointe

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 12, 2016

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EASTPOINTE — Residents and city visitors may notice new additions full of books to the city’s parks later this year, thanks to a contest being put together by the Friends of the Eastpointe Memorial Library.

Assistant Librarian Sue Todd said they are asking residents, local groups and businesses to participate and design a small lending library that is weatherproof and able to be set up inside one of the city’s parks.

Once there, the lending library will have books inside that people can take — and space for people to drop off books they’re done reading. No library card is needed for lending libraries, which have seen increased popularity in recent years, Todd said.

“We’re very excited about this,” Todd said. “We were looking for a project, I guess, and so we were talking about different ideas and narrowed it down to the idea that we wanted to put them in our parks and make books accessible to people living around those parks, or to anyone who happened across that little library.”

The libraries will be added to Kennedy Park, Spindler Park, Memorial Park, the dog park and Rein Park.

Wilma Wagner, a member of the Friends of the Eastpointe library, said they had been seeking a new project and, given the popularity of lending libraries, it seemed like a good fit as an outreach project. She said the Friends only have minor guidelines on what people can submit as part of their design.

“We’re leaving it up to the people who submit,” Wagner said. “We’re looking to see how creative people (and groups and businesses) can be.”

The lending libraries need to include 4 cubic feet for book storage, have two shelves — one for adult books and another for children’s books — with the lowest shelf about 2 feet off the ground. They also must be made of weatherproof materials, with recycled materials encouraged.

Todd said she has seen little libraries made out of materials ranging from filing cabinets to old newspaper stands to phone booths.

“We just want people to be creative and have fun with this project,” Todd said.

Wagner said the design contest’s deadline is Feb. 29, with the winners to be announced March 28. The winners will then have two months to put the libraries together for an unveiling June 4, at which time they will receive $150; they also will have a plaque recognizing their efforts placed on the little library. Designs can be submitted to the library itself.

“The Friends of the Eastpointe library are very excited about this project,” Wagner said. “And we’re hoping that the community will be as excited about it as we are and will want to get involved in this project.”

Todd said the library does not have any specific locations arranged in the parks for the little libraries at this time, though the Eastpointe library will be working with the city’s parks department. She said they are hoping to put the libraries in visible locations.

As an added benefit, Todd said the lending libraries could host fliers with upcoming library programs and general information as a way to help draw more residents to the Eastpointe library’s location on Oak Avenue.

For more information on the little libraries, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org. For more information on the contest, contact the Eastpointe library at (586) 445-5096.