Little Free Libraries
Just when you thought living in West University couldn’t get any better, the first of a proposed six Little Free Libraries was unveiled last fall at Colonial Park.
The Little Free Library movement, which seeks to promote literacy and community through free book exchanges, has arrived in West University Place. Local author Chris Cander, in partnership with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, unveiled the city’s first Little Free Library during the Full Moon Fest on October 23, 2015, at Colonial Park. Designed to look like West University Elementary School, the Colonial Park Little Free Library is a free-standing structure where neighbors of all ages can “take a book, return a book” and help spread the love of reading.
Thousands of Little Free Libraries have been installed worldwide since the movement began in 2009, but West University’s is the first citywide project. “When I first presented the Parks and Recreation Department with the idea of a single library, their overwhelming enthusiasm resulted in a plan for a library in each of the city’s six parks,” Cander says.
Each of the Little Free Libraries will be designed to reflect West University landmarks. West University Elementary School was chosen for the inaugural installation in honor of its 90th anniversary. Principal John Threet says, “These Little Free Libraries will give our community a way to share books and through the books share adventures, experiences, and education. Andrew Carnegie said, ‘A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.’”
The first library, which is approximately 4’ x 3’, was built by local builder, Fortitude Studios, and underwritten by Roger Martin Properties. Other Press and Bright Sky Press donated books by their authors to establish the initial inventory. Residents are welcome to stop by the library and take a book, and encouraged to return it—as well as contribute others—when they’re finished. Acting as library steward, Cander periodically monitors the stock, but the inventory is mostly self-sustaining through active community book sharing. The Parks and Recreation Department has committed to maintenance for this and future libraries. A custom bookplate embosser is available to personalize the books that move through the library and remind readers that all Little Free Library books are “always a gift, never for sale.”
For more information on West University Place's Little Free Libraries, please contact LFL@westutx.gov or call Parks and Recreation Administration at 713-662-5367.