Our Readers Share – Carol McLernon: Little Free Libraries; UPDATE: Four More Libraries Identified

This Little Free Library is literally little enough (in height) for Soren Binnie to reach a book for himself. (Photos courtesy of Erik Binnie)
Soren Binnie enjoying a book that he selected

By Carol McLernon

This stay-at-home time provides an opportunity to visit the Little Free Library in your neighborhood. Because the little libraries operate on a bring-one-take-one basis, books are always available. And . . . just because the word little is in the name, doesn’t mean the books are just for children. Adults may find or add their favorite genres as well.

The concept for Little Free Libraries originated in Hudson, Wisconsin and began here in Whitewater about 8 years ago. Irvin L. Young Memorial Library director, Stacy Lunsford, was one person who was involved with idea. Her father, Lynn Sorenson, built one and placed it in front of her house. Dawn Hunter painted one from a kit acquired from the Little Free Library website and positioned it on Center Street in front of the library.

Look for outdoor libraries at: 1560 W. Wildwood Road, 1134 W. Walworth Street, and the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library at 431 W. Center Street.

Indoor little libraries may be less accessible. Volunteers of Studio 84 at 121 W. Center Street are using this time to refurbish the box which houses the books at their location. Work should be completed soon. The little library on the UWW campus is inside Winther Hall on Prairie Street near room 1005. Doors may be open when students return to classes.

(Banner note: These libraries are stocked and registered on littlefreelibrary.com; there are probably others in the city/area that are not registered. If you are aware of or host another (unofficial) little free library, please email the Banner at whitewaterbanner@gmail.com. By the way, “Little Free Library” is a trademark of the not-for-profit organization, Little Free Library Ltd. The organization indicates that it “takes action only against organizations or individuals that use our registered marks to sell products and services without our permission.” )

More information is available at littlefreelibrary.org

Copies of some of the books I’ve authored are new additions to the libraries. Sanitized and autographed, I’m making them available because I want young people to enjoy reading about Wisconsin’s colorful history.

Autobiographical information about the pioneer priest, Father Mazzuchelli, James Doty, Juliette Kinzie, Henry Dodge, Lt. Jefferson Davis, and Black Hawk inspired me to write their stories. I especially want future generations to read about Black Hawk’s childhood.

“String of Hope” tells about Louisa, a slave girl at Fort Winnebago (Portage, Wisconsin) and her owner Juliette Kinzie, the first white woman to see Geneva Lake. My books are written for fourth graders but adults have enjoyed them as well.

Additional information provided by Mary Salverson:

The Delta Kappa Gamma local chapter of Key Women Educators has 3 Little Libraries in and around Whitewater.  They are located outside the Railroad Depot Museum, Starin Park and Wright’s Trailer Court.  We started the first Little Library in 2012 at Wright’s Trailer Park.  Our chapter was able to get several grants from our State organization.  We worked with the Whitewater High School Building Materials II class to construct 2 of our libraries.  We have not registered these 3 libraries because of the added expense for our organization.  Our members and friends donate books for us to use in the libraries which we stock during the warm weather from April to November.  (We have not been doing the Starin Park Little Library this period because of the pandemic.)  We have all levels of books for everyone.  We certainly appreciate all of the book donations that we find in the Little Libraries!  Thank you!  

— Our thanks to Ms. Salverson for this addition to our article.

Yet another library: Thanks to Ruth Stradinger, who wrote to say that she also hosts a library at 587 W Harper St.

— Our thanks to Ms. McLernon for sharing this informative story with our readers, and for sharing some copies of the books that she has written.

— Our Readers Share: We hope that you might have something that you’d be willing to share.  Anything that’s been created by someone else should, of course, be credited, and you should ask their permission if you’re able. We cannot post copyrighted material without permission. We can’t guarantee that we’ll have space for all submissions, and contributions will be subject to editorial board approval. The one definite exclusion is anything politically oriented. We will assume that you’re willing for us to include your name as the submitter unless you indicate that you prefer to remain anonymous. Send to whitewaterbanner@gmail.com or click on “submit a story” near the top right of our homepage.  Thanks for thinking about this!

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