BY PHIL WHEELER
The Catawba Stewards of Little Free Libraries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are new partners in reading, joining together last week for the dedication of the Little Free Library box at the refuge’s West Harbor Landing site on NE Catawba Road (State Route 53), just north of Route 163 in Port Clinton.
“It started with people asking if there were any Little Free Libraries in our area,” said Louise M. Terry of the Catawba Stewards of Little Free Library. She noted that Gem Beach’s Little Library on the Catawba Peninsula is available during the summer season.
“From there, people started posting sites where they would like to to see the special book boxes offered on Catawba Island.”
Terry took the ball and ran with it.“I contacted my friend, Jane Cipiti Taylor, and asked her if she would co-chair a committee with me. She is a retired teacher and reading has always been her passion.” said Terry.
Over the next couple of months the Stewards made decisions on how to finish and decorate their little library. An attractive gnome with fishing pole in hand sits on top, and other gnomes grace the sides.
“We saw grandparents with their grandkids fishing, and others launching small boats at the West Harbor Landing. We also noted many locals parking there with morning coffee to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature the site offers.” said Terry.
“We decided to use our gnomes to decorate and watch over our Little Free Library.”
This site was developed in partnership with Refuge Manager Jason Lewis the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who is stationed at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Lewis had developed the West Harbor Landing site, which is part of the West Harbor Water Trail.
Lewis was instrumental in the placement of the box. David Meade, a local carpenter and a resident of Catawba Island, donated all the supplies and constructed the library box.
The Catawba Stewards will administer the Little Free Library, donating books and their time to monitor and manage it. People are encouraged to stop by and pick up a book to read, or drop off one for someone else to enjoy.
The site also provides a great location for readers of all ages to come, select a book, and sit and read on one of several benches located at the area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will work with the volunteer group to ensure the library will have many different types of nature-themed books to exchange.
The Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that promotes neighborhood book exchanges, usually in the form of a public bookcase. More than 90,000 public book exchanges are registered with the organization and branded as Little Free Libraries. Through Little Free Libraries, which area present in 91 countries, millions of books are exchanged each year, with the aim of increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.
The Little Free Library organization is based in Hudson, Wisc. To find out more about the organization, or how to provide your own Little Free Library, visit littlefreelibrary.org.