Books on loan, no lines, no checkout, no fines

A rustic-looking case with glass doors and topped with two carved spires is a curious sight on this residential street east of Colorado Mesa University.

Crack open the doors and a number of books sit on shelves inside.

Some sport titles in the fantasy genre such as “Ice Dragon,” “The Fall of Neskaya” and “The Shadow Matrix.” Other books may be a bit more well-known, “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett, “A Thousand Acres” by Jane Smiley and “Contact” by Carl Sagan.

But this tiny library, propped up on an old stump in the front yard of a home in the area of 14th Street and Elm Avenue, isn’t part of the Mesa County library system.

Before the snow melted, telltale footprints left behind and some book turnover indicated some readers already were using this neighborhood treasure, a grassroots book exchange project replicated after the Little Free Library trend.

The small gesture to promote literacy was created by former Grand Junction resident Larry Creasman for his son, Ira, a librarian at Fruita Monument High School, and Ira’s wife, Central High School teacher Kelly McGuire.

“This is another thing he put together with found stuff,” Ira said. “It was one of the last things he did.” 

Larry, a contractor and builder, passed away earlier this month, so the little library also serves as a memorial to his father, Ira said.

McGuire first learned of the Little Free Library trend from a radio news story and asked her father-in-law to build one.

“He could never say no to her,” Ira said.

The movement to place boxes, oftentimes ornately created cubicles filled with books, in front yards and parks and near walking paths and public spaces, appears to be building momentum. The website, http://www.littlefreelibrary.org, shows people around the globe constructing their own versions of little libraries.

The nonprofit group also has a goal to build and distribute more than 2,500 small libraries around the world.

In addition to promoting literacy, the informal book exchange also works to build community by bringing neighbors together, Ira said. He mentioned the Little Free Library concept to some students in a book writing club and they seemed excited to try it in their neighborhoods, he said.

“It would thrilling if they did it,” Ira said. “It’s a nice little community thing.”


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What a great article!  Kelly and Ira rock for their students and community!

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