ATTLEBORO -- Thanks to a first-grade student at Thacher Elementary School, Attleboro has joined the worldwide “Little Free Library” community.
Raelyn Goulet, 6, got the idea to start a Little Free Library after she spotted one in Truro while on vacation with her mom Kelly, her dad Derek and sister Caralyn, 4, last summer.
Kelly said Raelyn decided “we should have one too.”
Her parents jumped on board and the project was begun.
With the help of the park department and its superintendent, Derek Corsi, they decided to put one near the playground at Capron Park, where it’s available to kids and parents both.
Books for all ages can be found in the library that was constructed mostly by Derek Goulet, a carpenter by trade, but was helped by the whole family.
The little house, which is about two feet high and a foot wide, has a shingle roof and a plexiglass door that securely shuts out the weather with the help of magnets.
It even has a solar-powered light to illuminate the inside.
Park workers mounted the library on a tree-trunk post for the family. The post came from a tree that had to be cut down in the park.
Raelyn said she and her family stocked the library with books from their home which they didn’t need anymore and wanted to share with others.
Others have chipped in too.
“A lot of people donated them,” the youngster said.
Anyone can borrow a book and anyone can donate a book. It’s all free of charge and based on the honor system. It’s open anytime the park is open, which is during daylight hours.
The Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that “fosters neighborhood book exchanges around the world,” according to its website.
So far, 75,000 Little Free Libraries have been started in 90 countries, the website said.
Locally, there are libraries in Norton, Mansfield, Foxboro, Wrentham, Plainville, North Attleboro and Pawtucket.
Suzanne Sullivan is a reading teacher at Henry J. Winters School in Pawtucket and happened to be in Capron Park when a reporter interviewed the family.
She said she’s donated to the library and used the library.
“It’s nice to see a book by your favorite author you haven’t read yet,” she said.
But putting books where children can get them is a great idea and sorely needed, she said.
Children need to be encouraged to pursue forms of non-electronic pastimes and Little Free Libraries help with that, Sullivan said.
Promoting books and getting youngsters away from cell phones and video games is a great idea, she said.
Putting the libraries where kids can, at a whim, find something they like and take it home helps and that’s one of the goals of the Little Free Libraries.
“One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase their access to books, especially at home,” the Little Free Library website said.