Any Gardere resident looking for a good, free book now has a couple of options, Jeanie Liehe said.
Liehe, a volunteer art teacher at Gardere Community Christian School, said the neighborhood’s second Little Free Library is up and running by the school, 8538 GSRI Ave.
Liehe came up with the idea when she got to know the students and the rest of the Gardere community. She learned how difficult it could be to get access to books.
“The closest library is Bluebonnet. It isn’t that close, and there aren’t sidewalks. If you don’t have a car, and many people there don’t, it’s not easy to get there,” Liehe said.
She began exploring ways to solve the problem, and came across the Little Free Library website.
She loved the concept, and knew of a perfect spot — near a bus stop on the side of the school.
“I thought it would get a lot of traffic there. It sounded like something I could do, but I wanted to have community input,” she said.
So she got in touch with Murelle Harrison at the Gardere Initiative.
“I went to one of their monthly meetings and told them about my idea. They loved the idea, and they got their Little Free Library up pretty quickly,” she said.
She asked Ronnie Sutton, who goes to her church in Prairieville, to build it, then started collecting books — mostly chapter books and some young adult and children’s books. She decided to stock the library with books on a reading level accessible to a lot of different reading abilities and will adjust as she sees what books are gone.
While that was in progress, she painted the box white and added a few flowers, then she took the box to the school, unmounted, and turned the project over to another volunteer who helped each student — there were 30 at the time — paint his or her own flower on the box.
“It took a while, but now each student who was there has their own stamp on the library,” she said.
A student’s father put the pole in the ground, and William Brown from the Gardere Initiative helped mount the library to the pole.
The concept of Little Free Libraries initially started as a way for neighbors to trade books and get to know each other, Liehe said.
The idea was to leave your own book in the box, and borrow another book from it, and in that way, keep books circulating and interact with the neighborhood.
“The goal is different here. We want to get books into the community, so we don’t mind if someone takes a book and keeps it or gives it to a neighbor or friend. We expect that to happen,” she said.
Liehe has a vision of a network of Little Free Libraries all over Gardere so that every resident is no more than a short walk away from a book.
The library holds about 100 books, she said.
Editor’s Note: This story was changed on Aug. 25 to correct the name of the man who mounted the library box.