Beach Reads at Little Free Library in Ship Bottom Fosters Community

Aug 08, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Ship Bottom is giving residents, seasonal homeowners and visitors, any time of year, the gift of reading. Built by Ed Ferdon, a public works employee, and located near a bench on 17th Street between Central Avenue and the Boulevard, the borough’s Little Free Library is anything but little.

Kathleen Flanagan, the borough’s chief financial officer, found a design she liked and asked if Ferdon could make it. His final product is more than anyone anticipated and is already in high demand less than a week after being placed on the south side of the municipal complex. Its birdhouse-like appearance is far enough off the ground so it doesn’t require bending or stooping, and the nearby bench makes it ideal to grab a book, sit and read for a spell.

“I really hope people love it,” Flanagan said, adding she will register the Little Free Library with the nonprofit organization founded in 2010 with the singular goal of inspiring the love of reading while helping to build a community and fostering neighborhood book exchanges globally. “We have one in Barnegat Light, and it works great.”

Anyone walking to the beach, or anywhere else for that matter, can take a book from the Little Free Library and return a book, she said. It doesn’t have to be the same title, she noted. The idea is to spread the love of reading. The free service requires only a love of reading; no library card is necessary.

“We’re in need of children’s and adult books,” she said, noting, “It’s not a dumping ground for unwanted books.”

If there is no room in the two-story Little Free Library, Flanagan said books should not be left in bags at the base of it, or on the bench.

As of earlier this year, there were more than 70,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 85 countries, according to the organization’s website. Little Free Library book exchanges work off the honor system. If you take a book, return a book to ensure the library is stocked for other patrons. —G.G.S.

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