By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
A new library opened in Bowling Green on Tuesday. No library cards are necessary. And there is no closing time.
A “Little Free Library” was christened at Kenwood Elementary School by students reading their personal odes to books.
The tiny library sits on the front porch of the elementary, and is open round the clock to children or neighbors of all ages.
“It’s open 24/7. They can come up anytime and take a book. It’s free,” said Shannon Lentz, a first grade teacher at Kenwood Elementary. “Maybe kids who don’t have access to books all the time can use them.”
Lentz hopes to add a journal to the library, so readers can record their feelings about the borrowed book when they return it.
The library “building” was donated by Bowling Green State University students in the Service Learning program. Similar libraries were donated to each of the Bowling Green elementary schools.
“The goal is to inspire reading,” Lentz said. “It’s not just for our students. It’s for the neighborhood as well.”
The library operation is simple, she said.
“If you take a book, you leave a book,” Lentz said.
The “Little Free Library” program is international – with more than 60,000 of the lending libraries registered in 80 countries.
Christine Englebrecht and her daughter Frances Chavez, who were present at Kenwood Tuesday for the ribbon cutting, are familiar with the tiny libraries in Colorado where they lived before coming to Bowling Green.
“They were everywhere, in front of every public space,” Englebrecht said. “I’d love to see one in City Park here.”
Frances said she was excited about having a Little Free Library in Bowling Green. “The best part is, it’s a library for everyone.”
“Anything that provides books for kids and puts books in the hands of kids is great,” Englebrecht said.
At the grand opening of the little library, Kenwood students professed their love for books with readings. Tess Challu, who always has a book in her hands, wrote a poem for the new library.
Aurora Martinez read aloud her ode to books. “I am excited to donate some books for others to read,” she said.
Kenwood Principal Kathleen Daney said teachers on the literacy committee took hold of the library idea. The library “building” was painted by the art teacher. And school maintenance staff built a stand for the structure.
Later at the board of education meeting Tuesday evening, Daney said the timing of the library opening was ideal. “We wanted it open for the Christmas break,” she said.
Bowling Green Board of Education member Jill Carr was on hand for the dedication of the library.
“I just think it’s such an awesome program,” Carr said. “I love books. I think kids should be surrounded by books.”
And with the little lending library, they can do just that.