Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Oct. 23 newspaper on Page A1.
The newest libraries in Vinton County don’t necessarily have employees, nor is any library card required to take home their reading materials.
A “Little Free Library” popped up in front of the old Wilkesville Fire station last year, and the movement has grown since then. Allensville, Zaleski and Hamden are now homes to public Little Free Libraries.
The Little Free Library is a national movement to provide communities with 24/7 access to books. The small cabinet filled with books in Wilkesville was installed by Mona Cook-Haught, who owns property in the Wilkesville area. Cook-Haught is a part of the Southeastern Ohio Little Free Library Network, and she has spearheaded the growth of Little Free Libraries inside and outside Vinton County.
The Allensville Little Free Library is located in front of West Elementary and the Allensville Christian Church. Hamden’s outdoor library is located next to the village’s post office on 30 N. Main St.
The Zaleski Little Free Library is located on Main Street across the way from the village’s Family Dollar. It’s right next door to the village’s “blessing box” (an outdoor, public food pantry). The structure that consists of the Little Free Library and the blessing box was created by Zaleski council member Steve Schmucker.
Like the Project Feed-VC blessing boxes scattered throughout the county, people can access the contents of the Little Free Library at any time and take what they wish to read. Community members are encouraged also to donate books for others to read.
The motto of The Little Free Library is “Take a book, share a book.” According to the movement’s website, a majority of low-income families do not have any age-appropriate books for their kids at home.
The Little Free Library is not just for children, however. The cabinets spread across the county contain literature that could also appeal to adults.
A McArthur “private” Little Free Libraries linked to Sojourners Care Network also exist in Vinton County, and other private libraries have taken up space in Athens and Gallipolis, according to Cook-Haught.
Cook-Haught plans on adding another library to Meigs County, particularly the Rutland area.
There are over 75,000 Little Free Libraries nationwide.