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Newest Little Free Library opens in Kenmore
A new library opened in Kenmore on Saturday (Sept. 21) - it stands less than six feet tall but everyone is welcome.
Kenmore City Councilman Allan Van Ness built the Little Free Library and Kenmore resident Ela Jungheim painted and decorated the structure, which stands in front of Marilyn White's home in the McDonald Highland neighborhood.
"[It's] stocked with books and open for 'business,'" said Van Ness.
The idea sprang from former President of the Kenmore Library Advisory Board Ellen Stein.
"[She] came to the April 2 meeting with a copy of her University of Wisconsin alumni magazine," said White. "The cover story featured an article about an idea that seems to be taking hold around the world. We passed the article around and some enthusiastic discussion ensued."
That idea makes libraries more accessible for community members on a smaller scale. The Little Free Library's shelf space is only about two-and-a-half feet tall with two shelves, holding a maximum of about 20 books. But the idea is more about discovering new things, creating community and promoting literacy.
White, who is known by neighbors as “Grandma Wheels” because she zips around her neighborhood in a power wheelchair, knew she would need an architect and carpenter to make the idea a reality.
Van Ness volunteered during the meeting to lend his skills to the project.
"He is a man of high energy," said White. "I knew he was a politician but I was overwhelmed at his carpentry skills. I was touched he fulfilled a dream I had to be a Little Library steward."
After Homeowner Association approval, Van Ness spent many hours on the design and construction of the library.
“The lower shelf will be devoted to children’s books, and the upper shelf to current fiction, nonfiction and audiobooks," said White, who has nine grandchildren in the area who are 12 and under.
Marilyn and Lee White will be the stewards of the newest reading sanctuary in Kenmore and Marilyn says the idea is not to replace the Kenmore Library.
"Their literature instructs you to take a book. If you see something you would like to read, take it. Look inside and see who gave it, who else has read it. Share it," said White.
The only rules are to return the items to any Little Free Library or pass it on to a friend.
The Whites and Van Ness hope that community members will give books and leave notes in them for the next person.
"Pay it forward," said White.
The newest Little Free Library, No. 7006, is located at 15034 66th Court NE in Kenmore.
The Little Free Library was decorated by Kenmore resident Ela Jungheim.