John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was the first book in the Little Free Library. The new library, which operates out of a standing wooden box in the front yard of Sylvania residents Stan and Marilyn Machosky, is offering area readers the chance to try something new.
The premise is simple: Passers-by can stop, take a book from the “library” box, and maybe even leave a book for someone else. Located at 6108 Rockdale Lane, the miniature library was inspired by the couple’s daughter.
“My daughter lives in St. Paul, Minn., and there’s one in her neighborhood,” Mrs. Machosky said. “She sent me an article about it.” The idea grew from there.
A former kindergarten and third-grade teacher, Mrs. Machosky is a librarian at Toledo’s Christ the King School. “I just want everyone to know how important libraries are,” she said. “There’s great stuff out there.”
The rest of the development seems to be catching on to the thought of their neighbor offering a quick and accessible reading option. Mrs. Machosky has received positive feedback from neighbors and strangers alike. She said people stop by and open the box every day.
“Daily, I see several people,” she said. One of the most popular times for visitors is right after school. She said having the free resource helps promote reading and support libraries.
She hopes the library will further a greater sense of community in Sylvania, and she sees it as a positive way to interact with her neighbors.
“It’s just been very fun,” Mrs. Machosky said. “A sense of community is fostered.” While some of the free library’s patrons drive by and stop, some of them walk up to the box. “I thought it would be a good location. A lot of people walk around here,” she said.
Among current titles, available books range from adult literature to seasonal picture books for children. Mrs. Machosky made an effort to include some starter books that would appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Others have donated books to the collection.
The idea has continued to catch on, with a few regular patrons already. But about the new success, Mrs. Machosky believes it’s something greater.
“I think that’s part of it — a sense of community,” she said, “that people can talk to each other about something like a book.”