The Madison Early Childhood Center, located at the former Halfman Elementary School, at 25601 Couzens Ave., features another Little Free Library.

The Madison Early Childhood Center, located at the former Halfman Elementary School, at 25601 Couzens Ave., features another Little Free Library.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Little Free Libraries offer books around Madison Heights

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 18, 2020

 Gravel Park, located at 30479 Palmer Ave., features a Little Free Library with a tree theme.

Gravel Park, located at 30479 Palmer Ave., features a Little Free Library with a tree theme.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights Public Library isn’t the only place in town to borrow a book.

In recent years, brightly painted newsstands called Little Free Libraries have been popping up in public spaces, each offering an ever-changing selection of books donated by community members.

There’s no requirement to return what’s taken, either, but people are encouraged to contribute books they would recommend to others.  

The Little Free Libraries have continued to grow in number, with one of the more recent ones installed at the newly renovated Wildwood Park.

“Over the last four years, the best part of the (Little Free Libraries) project has been the enthusiasm from everyone who has been involved,” said Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein.

She recounted how in 2017, during a Girl Scouts troop opening ceremony, a young girl from across the street ran over and said she was the one who kept her Little Free Library stocked.

“How wonderful that she took on this responsibility,” the mayor said.

For Grafstein, the libraries have doubled as destination spots when she rides her bike.

“Checking to make sure they’re stocked, sometimes taking one for myself to read,” she said. “Half the time I bike through Rosie’s (Park), I see someone going through the library there.”

The decision to install one at Wildwood Park started in the spring of 2019, when Grafstein reached out to another troop to see if they were interested in decorating a Little Free Library. The plan was to work on it during the school year, but COVID delayed the grand opening until this fall.

In addition to Wildwood Park and Rosie’s Park, there are also Little Free Libraries located at the Madison Early Childhood Center, the Lamphere Administration Building, Twelve-Sherry Park, Huffman Park, Civic Center Park, and in Suarez Friendship Woods by the Red Oaks Nature Center.

Others in the city include a reading-themed one at the Red Oaks Youth Soccer Complex, arranged in the fall of 2016 by resident Jackie Morgan, and a tree-themed library at Gravel Park, opened by Grafstein’s Girl Scouts troop in August 2017.   

“With over 20 girls in the troop, we wanted everyone to be able to leave their mark,” Grafstein said. “That led to the idea of a handprint, and from there it snowballed into a tree theme.”

The city’s library director, Roslyn Yerman, explained that the program began as part of the city’s 2018 fiscal year goal plan after input and support from the Library Advisory Board. She said the original goal was to install Little Free Libraries at Huffman Park and Rosie’s Park, and it has only continued to grow from there.

“Community interest in this project has been overwhelming,” Yerman said.

Guidelines were established under which those interested in installing a library at a city park or other location must contact Yerman, who will then consult with the Department of Public Services, who in turn will handle installation. The city has material guidelines for those who want to construct their own Little Free Libraries, or they can pay $92.50 to have DPS staff build one, which the donor can then decorate as they choose.

“The value of the program can’t be underestimated,” Yerman said. “The program is designed to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.”

The mayor said it’s something everyone can appreciate.

“Grabbing a book and reading under a tree is something everyone in the city should be able to do, regardless of where they live or how old they are,” Grafstein said.

For more information on the Little Free Libraries, visit www.madison-heights.org/663/Little-Free-Libraries.

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