Little Free Library making a large impact

Deborah Deasy
| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

Picture a big birdhouse with a door — full of books.

That's how Nicol Lachimia describes the Little Free Library in her Pine neighborhood.

“I think it's an amazing idea,” Lachimia said about the new gathering place for children of all ages in her Fox Meadow housing plan.

Lachimia's two children, ages 8 and 10, sometimes visit the little library more than once a day.

It sits on a post next to a patch of woods on Fox Meadow Drive. It's the brainchild of Hannah McNulty, 16, a junior at Pine-Richland High School.

“I wanted to encourage reading throughout the community,” said Hannah, a member of her school's civic-minded Key Club. “I wanted to do a story to encourage other people to do Little Free Libraries.”

The Little Free Library in Fox Meadow welcomes borrowers of all ages.

A lower shelf offers books for children. A second shelf offers books for teenagers and adults.

“You're supposed to give books back, or put new ones in,” Hannah said.

But no one tracks the titles' whereabouts.

Hannah's uncle — Bradford Mooney of Heritage Restorations in Worthington, Armstrong County — built the free-standing, log cabin-style library with a tin roof. It features strips of wood from straight-growing hornbeam, maple and witch hazel trees, according to Mooney.

“He built the whole thing from scratch,” said Hannah, daughter of Andrew and Leslie McNulty of Fox Meadow Drive.

Hannah's dad installed the small book emporium. Lachimia's children call it “Mr. Drew's library.”

“They were trying to explain to me how it was in our neighborhood, but I couldn't fathom how ‘Mr. Drew' built a library in our neighborhood,” Lachimia said. “I had no idea what they were talking about, but they couldn't wait to go back, and they kept showing up at our house with books.”

Lachimia reads to her children nightly and appreciates the little library's proximity to her home.

“To have something that you can walk to in the neighborhood is so handy,” she said.

Debbie Crnarich, president of the Fox Meadow Homeowners Association, suggested the library's location on circular Fox Meadow Drive, the main drag through a plan of about 115 homes.

“It's been a great project,” Crnarich said. “What a great idea to promote reading.”

The Little Free Library on Fox Meadow Drive is among a network of Little Free Libraries founded in 2009 as program of the nonprofit Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility, according to the network's online site:

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or

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