The Story Behind the Little Blue House in Clinton Center
Not many library shelves keep copies of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet side by side with Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. Then again, not many libraries are open 24/7. With no staff. No catalog. And no library cards.
Welcome to Clinton’s own Little Free Library.
Built last year by Morgan School graduate Patrick O’Shea and his father, the free book exchange is set up in Clinton center’s Post Office Square. It was a project of The Morgan School’s Class of 2015—a gift from the graduating seniors to their town.
“The idea behind our Little Free Library is that passersby who are walking downtown can stop and browse the library, select a book that piques their interest, or donate a book they are finished with,” said O’Shea, now a freshman pursuing a degree in criminal justice at the University of New Haven.
“When we began the project, I was a high school senior at in Mr. Eric Bergman’s class. We decided as a class to undertake this project in an effort to contribute something to our town that we, as a graduating class, could be proud of. We thought that this project would promote more reading in town as well as strengthen the community atmosphere,” O’Shea said. “I think it’s a great thing for our town, because it allows anyone who frequents our busy downtown area to stop by and pick up a free book. This project also promotes giving back to the community through donation of books to the library.
“Essentially, we hope this small project helps to better the town, even just a small bit, and also functions as a reminder of the graduating class of 2015,” he said.
Clinton’s Little Free Library is painted blue and white, the colors of The Morgan School. O’Shea said his entire class picked out the design and colors, and he volunteered to build the structure with his father.
“My dad owns a local construction company, Keltic Construction, Inc. Once we heard that Mr. Bergman wanted to do a class project for the town, we were more than happy to help,”O’Shea said. “After all that Mr. Bergman does for the school and the town, it was the least we could do in return.”
The Little Free Library concept—take a book, leave a book—originated in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin, as a way of promoting literacy and the love of reading. As a tribute to his mother, a teacher, Todd Bol constructed a replica of a little red schoolhouse, set it on a post in his front yard, and filled it with books. As of January 2016, there are more than 36,000 Little Free Libraries around the world, according to www.littlefreelibrary.org. Anyone interested in setting up a library or browsing a world map of Little Free Libraries can learn more at www.littlefreelibrary.org.