By Angie Georgeff
There are now two libraries available to the public in Unicoi County: your Unicoi County Public Library and the Little Free Library. The Little Free Library is aptly named, since it is a wooden box full of books raised off the ground from which anyone may borrow without fretting about due dates or fines.
These tiny—and adorable–libraries have been popping up in neighborhoods all across the country for more than five years, and have been thriving in the “Tree Streets” of Johnson City for 18 months. No registration is required. To participate, you take a book and leave a book. It’s just that simple. A book you have already finished may be just the thing someone else is looking for, while what they have left could be perfect for you. You might even discover a new favorite author!
Unicoi County’s first Little Free Library can be found at 799 Rock Creek Road, the Erwin Church of God pavilion. It is a project of Mountain Empire Literacy Outreach (MELO), which seeks to foster multi-generational literacy through storytelling and reading. I was present when it was dedicated on May 7 at the start of the Story*Book Fair.
As you head up Rock Creek, the Little Free Library is located on your right, just before you reach the church on your left. You should not have any trouble spotting it, since the box was beautifully decorated by MOMAC Studio in Johnson City.
MELO is hoping to erect more Little Free Libraries in Unicoi County and throughout the region. We applaud their initiative. They may not have the number of books or range of services we offer here at the library, but for their neighborhoods they are convenient in both their locations and their hours. We welcome this exciting new literacy resource to Unicoi County!
And speaking of multi-generational literacy, we are busily preparing for our Summer Reading Programs, which will begin on June 6. Our theme in this Olympic year is sports and wellness, and everyone is included, from infants in the Mommy and Me early literacy program to seniors participating in adult programs.
The adult reading program, with the slogan “Exercise Your Mind,” will be similar to the one last year, but with a few interesting twists. There will still be a drawing for summer-themed prizes–most importantly the white rocking chair–but “extra credit” entries may be earned for completing weekly activity sheets that you can pick up at the library.
These are games like word finds, “bingo” cards and quizzes that have been designed to help you “exercise your mind.” And, of course, have fun, because summer reading—even for grown-ups–is all about fun!