Free to read library kiosk arrives at Heidelberg playground

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A "Little Free Library" has been added to the Ellsworth Avenue playground in Heidelberg alongside the swings, jungle gym and basketball court, giving residents an opportunity to borrow and share books.

The concept is simple, "bring a book, take a book," said borough Councilman Bob Debar, who read about the idea in a magazine.

He talked the idea over with borough manager Joe Kauer and with the help of public works foreman Mark Turnbull, who constructed the kiosk -- a mini-lending library. It was completed Friday.

Mr. Kauer said residents put in a selection of 20 books over the weekend, ranging from children's books to how-to books.

The kiosk looks like an oversized mailbox or extra-large birdhouse.

While the basic construction plans are available on the website,, communities or individuals can customize the plans by adding artwork or design modifications.

The Heidelberg kiosk bears a drawing of a person reading a book and is painted in Heidelberg's colors of green and gold. There is a glass door on the front of the kiosk and two shelves inside.

Mr. Kauer estimates the structure can hold 30 to 50 books depending on their size.

He said the borough wants to see how the concept is embraced by residents and if it succeeds, the plan is to build a Free Library kiosk at every borough park.

"There's no library card required, just neighbors helping neighbors.

"With all the budget cuts, it's a good, simple way for people at the grass roots to help each other," he said.

The concept began in Wisconsin in 2009 as a project of the nonprofit group Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility.

Since then hundreds of Little Free Libraries have sprung up across the country.


Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer:


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