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Judy Whitehead (left) and Mary Berlin, stand beside the lending library that’s now a feature of the Windermere West development. (Photo by Zoe Roos/The Source | Buy This Photo)
(Photo by Zoe Roos/The Source | Buy This Photo)
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On a quite street in the Windermere West condominium development, community members can often be seen stopping by the local library to check out a book. However, this is not your typical library—there are no membership cards, no fees, and perhaps most significantly, there is no physical building. It’s a community run lending library.
Lending libraries have been a growing trend across the country in the past several years. This particular type of library works by allowing people to stop by whatever spot the books are held in, take one, and hopefully put one back.
Windermere residents approved the concept of a lending library nearly two years ago, but only just had it built and stocked this summer. The “library” is a wooden box along one of the development sidewalks. Judy Whitehead, one of the main caretakers of the library, said it’s very popular.
“It has really taken off,” she said. “I try to pick books that would be interesting to the people who live here, book club kind of books. People here walk a lot so they can walk by and pick out a book,” she said. “It seems to be very popular and some people come two or three times a week.”
The library has from 30 to 40 books in it at any given time. Whitehead said books were donated by residents to get the collection up and running and certain types of literature are not accepted—no violent, religious, or political material.
In addition, Whitehead took it upon herself to review some of the books in the library to give residents a taste of the book, similar to reviews one might see in a bookstore.
“I started the little reviews,” she said. “As you know, it’s the sizzle that sells the steak, so I come in here and I try to put interesting books in the front so we will draw people in.”
Resident Mary Berlin painted the library box. She said the box itself is easy to maintain and the community has already gotten a lot out it.
“It’s a riot and I never dreamed that it would be as popular as this,” she said. “Its community spirit and people talk to each other when they are here and you get to know your neighbors a little bit better.”
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