Little Free Libraries around the Topsail area offer free reading material.
Little boxes filled with books are popping up all over Pender and Onslow counties. The “take one, leave one” concept at parks, outside community centers and in neighborhoods is a convenient option for finding a used book to read this summer.
Little Free Library is a national initiative spearheaded by a nonprofit organization of the same name, and many of those boxes are showing up in the Topsail area. Individuals, community organizations and others are building boxes that hold treasures for children and adults. Everyone is encouraged to take a book to enjoy throughout the summer and the rest of the year. Leaving a book is not a requirement but helps to ensure there will continue to be books available for others in the Little Free Library.
The Little Free Libraries offer the rare opportunity to re-discover an old favorite and to see what a new-to-you author has to say. The donated books are used, but some may be relatively recent. You never know what you might discover!
A nonprofit organization based in Wisconsin, Little Free Library says its vision is to have “a Little Free Library in every community and a book for every reader. We believe all people are empowered when the opportunity to discover a personally relevant book to read is not limited by time, space or privilege.”
Locally, the boxes full of books are located at various locations including Soundside Park on Roland Avenue in Surf City, the Holly Ridge Community Center on Sound Road and Stump Sound Park in Sneads Ferry.
There are also several located on the sites of local elementary schools and neighborhood associations, such as the Topsail Dunes Villas in North Topsail Beach.
Kiwanis International has partnered with the Little Free Library organization to “expand book access around the world.” The Kiwanis Club of Topsail Beach recently involved its members in building four new Little Free Libraries that will be installed this summer. The little libraries will be installed at the Surf City Community Center, North Topsail Beach’s Richard C. Peters Town Park, the Holly Ridge Municipal Park and Coastal Elementary School.
President-elect Nicki Swafford spearheaded the idea as a way to get more books into the hands of children, particularly during school holidays and over winter and summer breaks.
“As a club, we felt this was important given that reading benefits a child in several ways, such as widening their vocabulary, building confidence and developing a strong imagination,” says Kiwanis Club President Carrie Hewitt. “Our hope is that continued access to books will foster a love of reading and, in turn, a love of learning, which will equip them for a brighter future. Kiwanis of the Topsail Island Area is committed to making our club’s vision a reality … to improve the world, one child and one community at a time, and we believe the little libraries do just that.”
In Topsail Beach, the Operation Bumble Bee Mini Library was built by Rick Stidley and is located at and registered to the Historical Society of Topsail Island.
Janine Stidley, director of the Missiles and More Museum, says, the mini library was “modeled after an observation tower from Operation Bumble Bee, the top secret military program that was on the island 1946-1948.”
Janine Stidley maintains this library as well as another one on South Anderson Boulevard in Topsail Beach; Rick Stidley also built this one. She encourages donations from members and supplements the contents of each library with books purchased at thrift stores and yard sales to ensure there will be plenty of reading material available for anyone visiting the libraries.
Reading benefits an individual’s mental and physical health. Even though most research has been focused on how reading helps a developing child, it turns out that adults get a lot out of it too. Reading keeps your mind engaged, improving cognitive function, and can even help reduce stress.
Visit a Little Free Library or Create One of Your Own
These fun little boxes can be filled with amazing surprises for all ages. Stop by a Little Free Library near you and take a book! While you’re at it, leave a book that you’ve already read to share in the joy of reading in your community. Here are just a few of the places around the Topsail area to find a Little Free Library.
Soundside Park on Roland Avenue
Surf City Community Center in Surf
North Topsail Beach
Topsail Dunes Villas
Richard C. Peters Town Park
Missiles and More Museum
Coastal Elementary School
Holly Ridge Community Center on Sound Road
Holly Ridge Municipal Park
Stump Sound Park
For more information:
Create your own Little Free Library, check out https://littlefreelibrary.org/