New Castle County today expanded its Little Free Library program to any homeowner or civic association in the county. The $300 libraries will be covered by federal CARES Act funding.
Those interested should fill out the application by Nov. 25. Recipients will be contacted by Dec. 1.
“This innovative countywide program will serve as a point of pride and excitement for adults and children in neighborhoods across our county during this crisis and for years into the future,” County Executive Matt Meyer said.
The wooden libraries look little houses, with pitched roofs, and sit on a pole. Installation, stocking it with books and continued maintenance are the responsibility of the recipients. The goal is that people who take a book replace it with another one.
New Castle County Council member Dee Durham launched a pilot program, and more than 20 libraries were given away in October. She was later joined by Karen Hartley-Nagle, the council’s president.
The county is said to be the first in the country to formally legalize the structures.
When he first heard about the movement, Durham aide Chris Counihan said that he saw only a handful in the county on a map maintained by Little Free Library, a nonprofit that’s a worldwide leader in what are also called neighborhood book exchanges and book-sharing boxes.
Today there are more than 30 registered little libraries in the county. And that’s the count before October’s giveaway.
The movement, of course, encourages reading, and officials hope that it also functions as another “cool community thing” to strengthen neighborhoods while residents are hunkered down.
Most public libraries in state, including those run by New Castle County government, remain closed to patrons. They do provide curbside pickup of reserved books and other materials. They also answer reference questions.