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Little Free Libraries Pop Up in City Parks

Next time you're strolling through Hyattsville's parks, feel free to take a book home with you.

As part of a budding "free library" movement in Maryland, Students from DeMatha Catholic High School are trying to bring a little literature to Hyattsville's parks.

Yesterday, with the cooperation of the Hyattsville recreation department,  six DeMatha Juniors from the school's leadership institute installed two small wooden libraries on posts in two of the city's parks, Centennial Park in downtown Hyattsville and Robert J. King Park near the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Gallatin Street.

The books inside the small libraries are there, free of charge, for anyone to check out. No library card required. If you take one out, maybe think about replacing it with a book of your own. 

Abby Sandel, city communications manager and acting head of the Recreation and Arts Department, said the city hit upon the idea when looking for simple ways to add non-athletic functions to Hyattsville's smaller pocket parks. 

"We were looking for something that would be unconventional, but still be recreational," said Sandel in an interview. 

Each box can hold about a dozen books. The students stocked the boxes with one particular title, To Kill a Mockingbird, because it is required reading for almost all area high school students. 

The micro-libraries are gaining popularity in communities across the nation. According to LittleFreeLibrary.org, the project aims to promote literacy through free book exchanges. The movement has lofty goals. Organizers behind LittleFeeLibrary.org aim to build more libraries than Andrew Carnegie, the famous gilded age tycoon and philanthropist with 2,500 libraries in his name. 

There are at least six other Little Free Libraries in Maryland, including one in nearby Berwyn Heights at 6211 Pontiac Street which resembles a classic red British phone booth. There are also two others inside the beltway, one in Silver Spring and the other in Bethesda. 

Corey Somers September 01, 2012 at 11:53 AM
This is such a great idea. I hope the community helps in keeping it "safe" and clean.

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