Little Free Library in Port Clinton feeds the need for kids to read

Fairway Estates

The Friends of the Port Clinton City Parks gathered for a ribbon cutting and dedication of the Little Free Library at Lakeview Park in Port Clinton this week. From left to right are: Lynne Kroeger, Friends of Ida Rupp Library; President Bob Butcher, Friends of the Port Clinton Parks; Tertry Zeman, Friends of Ida Rupp Library; Bill Kyle; Matthew Armstrong, welder and assembler; Port Clinton Mayor Mike Snider; Bill Caswell, builder; and Board member Victoria Bergeman and Treasurer Dave Mehl, , Friends of Port Clinton City Parks. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

By D’Arcy Egan

The Little Free Library for kids popped up this week at Lakeview Park on Perry Street in Port Clinton, and the Friends of the Port Clinton Parks didn’t have to wait long to see if young minds would appreciate their efforts.

Before Stephanie Kyle of the Friends of the Port Clinton Parks could cut the red ribbon to officially mark the opening of the lighthouse-shaped book repository, a pint-sized bookworm had opened the little door and was sorting through the many offerings.

The Little Free Library was designed with a “Take a Book, Share a Book” plan in mind, said Kyle, who with husband, Bill, had been instrumental in creating the small library on the southwest corner of the kids’ playground at Lakeview Park. It is the second Little Free Library at the park, with an adults version closer to Perry Street and the Port Clinton City Beach.

All of the books are freely offered, never sold, and the library is always open.

“We’re very excited to be bringing a second Little Library to the park, especially one just for kids,” said Bob Butcher, president of the Friends of Port Clinton Parks. “This library has a very special design. It’s been built as a replica of the newly refurbished Port Clinton Lighthouse.”

“Bill and I came up with the original idea about three years ago,” said Kyle. “With help from members of the Friends of Port Clinton Parks it took about a month to create it, and have Tracy Colston’s crew from the City of Port Clinton install it.”

Donations of books are always welcome for both of the small libraries, especially children’s books. For more information on donating books, connect with Kyle by email at stephskyle@gmail.com, or just drop off lightly-read books at the libraries.

Bringing the project to completion were Bill Moon, who designed the little library; Dan Moscioni, Bill Caswell and Matt Armstrong, with extraordinary building skills; and Alex Thomas coordinating the project.

“When you see a kid pick up a book and start reading it, it is a wonderful moment for literacy and reading,” said Kyle. “Bill and I are avid readers, and we know kids will find reading is fun!”

The Little Free Library is a grassroots movement begun by Todd H. Bol a decade ago in Hudson, Wisc. in order to promote literacy and a love of reading. The little libraries have been spreading like wildfire, and more than 80,000 of them building a sense of community and sharing skills, creativity and wisdom across generations around the world.

Immaculate Conception School children in Port Clinton recently constructed its Little Free Library on West Fourth Street in front of Immaculate Conception Church. To learn more, including the creation of additional Little Free Libraries, visit littlefreelibrary.org.

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