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Greenport introduces Little Free Library where anyone can borrow, leave books

The Greenport bookmobile is back this summer with a new component — five Little Free Libraries.

The freestanding kiosk-like libraries are constructed to look like books and will contain books for readers of all ages that can be borrowed by members of the community at any time, Greenport elementary principal Joseph Tsaveras said.

A sign at each Little Free Library location — the Greenport school, Mitchell Park, Fifth Street Park, Main Street outside Lucharitos and Floyd Memorial Library — will read “take a book, leave a book,” Mr. Tsaveras said.

The project is the result of a collaboration among the Greenport School District, Greenport Village and Floyd Memorial Library.

“That’s one of the most exciting parts, that it’s a joint venture,” he said. “We’re continuing to promote literacy for all in the community. Reading for yourself and reading to others is important.”

The book stands, which are in the final building stages, were painted and cut in June by Greenport High School students from technology teacher Mike Davies’ classes. Mr. Davies is finishing up construction of the stands and hopes to have them completed and installed this week.

Mr. Tsaveras said he was brainstorming with Jack Martilotta, a high school science teacher at Greenport and a village trustee, about ways to enhance the school district’s bookmobile effort, which launched last year, and decided to start the Little Free Library program.

“Then we came up with the idea of one that looks like a book. You just open the book and there are books inside, so it’s a pretty cool idea,” Mr. Tsaveras said.

Mr. Martilotta and Mr. Tsaveras then reached out to Poppy Johnson at Floyd Memorial Library to suggest that the library partner with them.

“The three of us put our heads together,” Mr. Tsaveras said. “We thought going into our second year of the bookmobile we’d try and enhance and promote literacy in the community as well.”

Last summer, Mr. Tsaveras began driving a minibus loaded with more than 600 books for students through grade 6 throughout the village. In its second week, the bookmobile goes around on Tuesdays this year. Students are able to borrow a book free of charge and exchange it for a different one the following week.

The Little Free Library program is slightly different in that the books inside the kiosks are for people of all ages and don’t have to be returned. People can keep a book they’ve enjoyed, but are encouraged to leave a book for others to read whenever they pick one up for themselves.

Greenport’s Little Free Libraries are part of a national program created in 2009 by Wisconsin resident Todd Bol. There are now over 50,000 Little Free Libraries throughout all 50 states and in 70 countries worldwide.

Douglas Attridge of Mattituck built Long Island’s first Little Free Library in 2012 at his Bergen Avenue home. Since then more have popped up, including one at a bus stop on Main Road in Jamesport.

Photo caption: One of the five Little Free Libraries that will be placed around Greenport Village this week. (courtesy photo)

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