Mini-libraries pop up around Winfield

The Little Free Library outside of Winfield City Hall waits to be stocked with books.

Getting books to Winfield children will hopefully be easier thanks to five new Little Free Libraries that have been installed around town, with more in the works.

The free libraries are a project of the Friends of the Winfield Public Library

The libraries are at Winfield Housing Authority, 1417 Pine Terrace; Winfield City Hall, 200 E. Ninth Ave.; Cowley County Historical Museum, 1015 Mansfield St.; the 12th Avenue and Alexander Street area, near the Canterbury Village apartments; and the Broadway Recreation Complex. A sixth library will be installed at a location to be determined. The locations were chosen based on demographics and areas that showed a high need for library services, but low access.

WPL director Joan Cales said the primary goal of the libraries is to get books to local kids. Most of the free libraries will contain children’s books, although some, such as the one by city hall, will also include adult titles.

The library boxes were built by students in the Winfield high School shop class and painted by local artists. The library at the housing authority was painted by Martha Fitzwater, and the others by Karen Fritzler.

Each library will have its own volunteer caretakers. Cales said some volunteers have already signed up, but more are needed.

Users of Little Free Libraries typically take the books they want and leave ones they no longer use behind. Cales said it is expected that most patrons of these libraries will take books and not leave anything in exchange, and that is perfectly OK. The libraries will be stocked with books donated by library patrons. People who want to donate books can take them to the main library, or leave them in one of the boxes. If more books are needed, the public will be asked for donations, said Cales.

It is hoped that the Little Free Libraries will help get books to kids who have a hard time making it to the main library, or who don’t have the means to purchase books of their own.

“We believe the library belongs to the community and want to be responsive to the community’s needs,” Cales said. “We hope the public enjoys the look of them, and are really, really happy to bring this program to the community.”

Anyone who wants to donate or volunteer can call Cales at (620) 221-4470.

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