NEWTON GROVE — A new library is coming to town.
While the Bryan Memorial Library serves as the foundation of reading and research services in town, a smaller project at the park is going to provide more access for book lovers. During a Monday meeting of the Newton Grove Board of Commissioners, town leaders approved to build a “Little Free Library” at Weeks Park.
Melanie Spell, a media specialist at Hobbton Elementary School, made the proposal for the initiative that will allow community members to leave or take home books at the site.
“I am a lover of reading and I always have been,” Spell said.
Spell said she’s been wanting to bring Little Free Library to Newton Grove for awhile. The nonprofit organization’s goal is to promote reading and the exchange of books around the world.
“It’s a great way to encourage people to read and for the community to get together and share things,” Spell said. “It doesn’t cost anything to have this.”
She was inspired by the free program while taking a vacation and seeing a bookshelf carved out of a tree.
“I started seeing them at other places,” she said. “It was not planned. I would be on vacation and I would come across one. I just felt in my heart that it was something that our little town needed.”
Spell said she would like to have sites all around Newton Grove, starting at the park, although she was aware that vandalism may occur. But she’s willing to take on the responsibility. With a location next to the road, the likelihood of damage may decrease if it’s away from playground equipment.
“Our park is awesome,” she said. “I have parents from Clinton who tell me all the time that they come to our park, which makes me very proud. So, thank you for doing that. I feel that if we put it down there at the new (playground) equipment, we’re going to have a better chance of people vandalizing it. I don’t know if it would be used as much.”
The original plan was to build one under trees at the park, but she wanted Newton Grove’s Little Free Library to be different instead of a plain wooden box, which is registered online for mapping purposes.
“Newton Grove is so unique to me and it’s so special, I wanted us to have a special thing,” Spell said.
For the Newton Grove project, the plan is to use a grain bin with the assistance of Hog Slat. The size is about 6 feet wide and between 6 and 7 feet tall and will include two shelves inside and a door with a Plexiglas window to allow users to look inside. The door will have a latch to stay closed. According to plans, it will also be waterproof.
“What we’re going to do is make different sides,” she said about having different sections for children, adults, magazines or even canned goods. “It just doesn’t have to be books. There’s lot of opportunities for things that we could do.”
She would like to put it next to picnic tables in a large grassy area at the park. After building the first one, other possible locations for smaller wooden boxes include in front of Newton Grove Drug Company and Rolling Ridge, a senior living community.
“I would like for Newton Grove to have this Little Library,” Spell said. “I think it would be great. It would put us in this worldwide community to make sure people can share their love of reading.”
Following the presentation, commissioners granted Spell permission to move on with the project with the assistant of Hog Slat and company president Tommy Herring. After making a motion, Commissioner Cody Smith made a suggestion to provide more than $250 in seed money for books, which was also approved by the board.
“I believe it’s a huge asset to our park,” Commissioner Teresa Wilson said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.