Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Phone Booth? More Little Free Libraries in Cedar Falls, Iowa


Wait, is that a phone booth over there? You sure don't see too many phone booths around these days. Nope, it's a Little Free Library!

As you may know, I've been exploring the Little Free Libraries in my area. In my previous post, a few days ago, I gave a virtual tour of the Little Free Libraries of Waterloo, Iowa, our neighboring "big city."

And the time before that, I did the same with my city, Cedar Falls. The big highlight of that tour, according to the Facebook response, was the Little Free Library north of town that looked like a miniature TARDIS from Doctor Who.

Well, it seems that there are yet more local LFLs! I found three more in Cedar Falls, and Jeremy Prouty, the Waterloo middle school teacher whose students built six LFLs — story here — will let me know as those six are installed around Waterloo and on the University of Northern Iowa campus in the next few weeks. Exciting stuff!

Okay, let's get on to today's topic, visiting MORE Little Free Libraries in Cedar Falls.


The only LFL featured in the city's official website is in Neighbors Park in the North Cedar area. It's a repurposed phone booth in the corner of the park's picnic structure, as seen in the top right picture below (circled in yellow). At the bottom right picture, you can see that someone (the steward of this LFL?) has a delightful sense of humor: there's a phone book in this not-a-phone-booth phone booth! Fun.
Neighbors Park at 2200 Center Street
(At the corner of Cedar Street)


The second LFL of the day is a cheery blue box decorated with whimsical rune-like symbols. Beside the box the steward of this LFL has provided seats: a dark blue folding chair and a sturdy dining chair painted in many bright colors. A very welcoming set-up!
1610 Starbeck Circle
(off Panther Lane)


The last LFL for today is, I believe, the oldest one in the city. In the official LFL directory at LFL headquarters, the description of this LFL says that there are no others in Cedar Falls. Also, it doesn't look like a miniature house, as LFLs often look. It's made of a small packing crate turned on its side, with plexiglass walls installed inside. You can see pretty clearly the sides of the packing crate in the top right picture below.

Also unlike the usual LFL, this library is attached to a tree and not mounted on a pole. This is quite unusual in this area; of the thirteen LFLs I've visited in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro area, this is the only one that's mounted onto a tree.

Anyway, this "grandfather" of an LFL is pretty charming. Go to Garden Ave. and check it out.
2424 Garden Avenue
(between Rainbow Drive and Cottonwood Avenue)


Okay, that makes nine Little Free Libraries in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Sometime soon, there will be a tenth one on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa. The installation of this new LFL has been delayed by construction nearby. I hope it will go up before too long. When it does, I'll let you know.


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Ingat, everyone.   

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Take a Book, Return a Book: Little Free Libraries in Waterloo, Iowa


Last time, I gave you a tour of Little Free Libraries in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Today, let's visit the Little Free Libraries in the city next door: Waterloo.

The Little Free Library worldwide movement champions literacy and the love of books and reading. Each LFL is, according to the HQ website, "a 'take a book, return a book' gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share." As we saw last time, my own city of Cedar Falls has an interesting assortment of LFLs, particularly the one that looks like a small TARDIS from the TV show Doctor Who.

Okay, let's get started checking out the Little Free Libraries of Waterloo, shall we? To see any picture larger, just click on it.


This first Waterloo LFL is no-frills, for sure. This is a pretty new library; a placque on the door says that it was started in April 2015, just three months ago. One thing that sets this apart from other LFLs is that it has no window. Which could be a blessing because it keeps the books inside from fading because of the sun. Another thing I like about this LFL is how it was designed to look just like the LFL steward's house. Both of the houses — the big one and the little one — are painted the same shade of maroon and are roofed with gray shingles. Cool, huh?
1929 Baltimore Street
(at corner with Easton Avenue)

     

Second, in a tree-shaded neighborhood — which was a relief because it was darn HOT when I was on my LFL quest yesterday! — is this LFL also painted maroon. This library has the usual front window. Very handsome.
709 Magnolia Parkway
(between Bismark Avenue and Rock Island Avenue)

     

The third one is in a suburban setting. The guy next door was meticulously mowing his lawn with a riding mower. Hey, I should have gotten him in these photos!  This LFL is brightly painted red, blue, and yellow. Cool idea I haven't seen in an LFL before: the steward of this library has included an equally colorful bound journal marked "Leave a note!" Nice cheerful greetings from neighborhood folks thanking the steward for their LFL.
4750 Clover Lane
(between Country Lane and Mary Ellen Drive)

     

The fourth LFL I visited yesterday is in a forested area near Rainbow Drive. The stewards of this library have made some cool innovations. As with the Clover Lane LFL, there's a bound journal for people to leave greetings. Very cool, though, there's also a little plastic container of dog treats. There's a stack of bright, colorful bookmarks — that's a very nice touch. There are several copies of the Cedar Valley Trails and Recreation Guide, a fold-up map. And there's a stick-up little light for night visitors. You can see all of these in the picture on the right below.
2035 Grand Boulevard
(between Niagara Drive and Four Seasons Drive)

     

There was one library I couldn't find. According to the LFL website, there should have been a library in downtown Waterloo, at 505 Walnut Street. I suspect this LFL may no longer exist. However, it may have been moved inside somewhere nearby. On Monday, I'll make some inquiries. Faith Temple Baptist Church is right there and may now have the LFL. The Boys and Girls Club is just down the street, too; they might have the library in their building. So stay tuned, okay? Check back the next day or so, please.

Okay, that's the end of our Waterloo LFL tour. For now. Hope you've enjoyed it. Why don't you visit one (or all!) of these LFLs? Bring a book or two to leave. And take a book to read.


Oh, one more thing: earlier this year, students from Waterloo's Hoover Middle School built some LFLs and are looking for stewards to install them in Waterloo neighborhoods. Here's a newspaper article about this story. Pretty exciting. Congrats to the students and to their teacher, Jeremy Prouty. If you are interested in becoming a steward of one of these LFLs or would just like more detail about this project, visit their website, H.E.L.P. LFL.
Added 20 July 2015: I found out today that the Hoover students' LFLs have all been assigned to stewards already. So, do not apply for one at the H.E.L.P LFL website.

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Ingat, everyone.   

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