Two Annapolis communities are unveiling their own “Little Free Libraries” in May. The libraries, located at Hillsmere’s community beach and park at the end of Hillsmere Dr. and in the community of Annapolis Roads on the corner of Pine Crest and Lakeview Drives, are designed to promote literacy and community involvement.
The Little Free Library movement (www.littlefreelibrary.org) began in the Wisconsin area as way to bring book exchanges to communities that didn’t have brick and mortar libraries. The idea has spread as a way to promote reading and engage communities. The organization estimates that there are now between 5,000 to 6,000 Little Free Libraries in 36 countries.
Community members can visit the little libraries, take a book and return it whenever. They are also welcome to leave a book for others to enjoy.
Emily Auerswald, the steward of Hillsmere’s Little Free Library, is a librarian at the Indian Creek upper school. Lisa Gebbia, the steward of the Annapolis Roads library, was a resident of Hillsmere when Ms. Auerswald brought the idea of the library to Hillsmere’s mom’s group. Ms. Gebbia is a former English teacher and avid reader.
“Emily posted to our mom’s group that she wanted to build one or two or 12 Little Libraries for Hillsmere,” said Lisa Gebbia. “I was inspired. When we moved to Annapolis Roads and I realized that our little street was the main walkway for lots of our community’s dog owners, I knew that we had the ideal location for an Annapolis Roads library.”
Ms. Auerswald worked with K&B True Value in Annapolis to get her library built. K&B’s manager, Joe Hogbin, is a Hillsmere resident. They used materials found on Hillsmere’s beach to decorate the library. Ms. Gebbia’s husband built the Annapolis Roads library. She plans to have the neighborhood children help decorate the library.
“I loved the idea of having a way to share books with the world,” said Ms. Gebbia. “I grew up in a family that read constantly. I want my children to view reading as a pleasure, not a chore.”