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Little Free Libraries Land In Forestville

Forestville Kids Make a Difference!

Last October, third graders in Barb Faxlanger’s class read several books about how children around the world, especially in very rural, or very poor areas, get books to read.  The children were very surprised to learn that some children own no books, and in other parts of the world, they may receive books periodically from a traveling donkey and cart, a horse with saddlebags, a library boat, a dogsled, or even from a camel or elephant. Though Forestville used to be served by the Bookmobile, the Bookmobile is no longer in service in Chautauqua County, and the village of Forestville doesn’t have a public library. 

Mrs. Faxlanger introduced them to the Little Free Library concept (see and the children’s enthusiasm took off from there.  Little Free Libraries are free-standing wood boxes on posts, sometimes found in people’s front yards, in front of stores, in playgrounds, anywhere around town where someone wishes to “plant” one.   A Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. They are found in many shapes and sizes, some whimsical, some very creative, some made to look like houses, schools, and more.  Anyone may take a book, and it is hoped that each person also leaves a book for others to borrow and read.  In this way, the Little Free Library is always full and constantly changing its variety of books.  As of June 2016, there were over 40,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 U.S. states and in over 70 countries around the world. 

The children decided they wanted to get a Little Free Library for Forestville.  Josh’s dad, Mike Press, a local builder, joined the enthusiasm and agreed to build one.  The class discussed ways to make money to help Mr. Press offset the cost of wood.  In January, after collecting pine cones for two months, with the class organized into three assembly lines, they made over 300 peanut butter-birdseed pine cone bird feeders, then sold them throughout the school community.   Now there was enough money for two Little Free Libraries, and Moxie’s dad, Bruce Lyon, another builder, agreed to build a second one! 

On Tuesday, October 18th, those students, now 4th graders, met after school for the installation and dedication ceremony of their Little Free Libraries.  Each student brought some books to get these libraries started.  The yellow school bus, complete with a solar panel and interior solar lights (for the nocturnal reader) is located on the driveway to the Elementary School on Water Street.  The red two-story house with cedar roof shingles was installed in the front yard of the American Legion in Forestville, chosen because it’s in a little neighborhood with a popular ball field next door, affording many people easy access to books.  These two libraries will soon be registered on the official website and interactive map. 

We’re now asking for the donation of books that your family is finished reading and is willing to part with,  we’re looking for popular children’s books and adult novels- purely enjoyable reading.  We appreciate any that you can spare.  Please do not send encyclopedias, magazines, or Reader’s Digest Condensed books.  Donated books may be brought to the Elementary School office.

Enjoy our Little Free Libraries- they belong to the Forestville community now! 

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