Free Libraries, Simple Pleasures

Mazie Werner gives some of her books to the library and takes a story.

Free libraries are popping up in Tifton.

My friend Polly Huff has a free library provided by Tifton Twentieth Century Library Club. Made from a vintage newspaper kiosk, it is located in Pebblebrook and filled with children’s books. The day I spoke to her she’d placed rooster feathers, cool rocks, and shells from her farm beside the books, gifts for the children. At times, she leaves pears, fresh from her trees, on top of her library, and they are there for the taking. She told me children have already been using it, taking and leaving books and other found objects.

The free library in Pebblebrook.

I have one in my yard on Emory Drive, too. It is named Dogwood Free Library and is stocked with books for both children and adults, fiction and nonfiction. At times, I tuck little notes about my dogs, tales about gargoyles and other garden creatures that sleep during the day in the backyard garden and come to life at night to play, and stories about my adventures hiking through the countryside, inside the library. Children leave rocks, marbles, leaves, and even little trinkets. A softball and a book for a child about a boy who played softball was left in the library one day.

Mazie Werner, a lovely little girl with long, shiny hair and a face so sweet it will melt your heart, was one of the first visitors to my library. She arrived with books from her own bedroom and left them for others, and she took with her a little story I’d written about Ahab, A Golden Dog. It wasn’t a story with a plot. It was a simple introduction to Ahab, yet she was delighted to learn about him.

Sully Huff likes to help Polly stock her free library.

It thrills Polly and me to see photos of children visiting our free libraries. The kids enjoy leaving books, tiny gifts for others, and things discovered during walks or gathered from strolls on the beach. Their hearts seem to overflow with the joy of giving. They are happy to take and give, excited to share, and their excitement is contagious.

In this age of technology and an abundance of material items, children are teaching us adults lessons as they rejoice in the simplest acts and the kindest gestures when using free libraries.

Lauren Fresh took her children to Dogwood Free Library.

The simplicity is beautiful. The sharing at our free libraries reminds me of Christmases I’ve read about, times when gifts were simple, often handmade, when fruit was placed under the tree, when the truest gift was love.

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