Sauk Centre Coborn’s hosts Little Free Library
By Kerry Drager
One of the best ways to promote literacy is by having books on hand, but there are still families in the community that may not have books in the home. To help encourage reading, Thrivent Financial has provided the Sauk Centre community with a “Little Free Library”.
Located inside of the Sauk Centre Coborn’s is a small wooden box that is filled with tales of all varieties. This is a “leave a book — take a book” kind of program. All individuals are encouraged to rummage through the available books and take one that has piqued their interest. The box only remains filled if people also leave a book, so donations are always welcome.
“During our board meeting, we decided that it would be neat to sponsor one of these libraries for the community,” said Harold Nelson. “We brainstormed locations, and we wanted to put one at the Sinclair Lewis Park, but winter was coming and it wasn’t a good time to place a box there. I checked out Coborn’s, and the manager said it sounded like a good idea. It has been doing very well in that location.”
Nelson is no longer on the board with Thrivent, but he is continuing to dedicate his time to the library at the Coborn’s location. He checks out the contents of the box to ensure that all materials placed there are appropriate reading materials for all people and that books are available from which to choose. So far, the community has been generous in leaving books of all kinds.
“I would guess the average on the turnover for the books is probably 40 to 50 books a week. I have no way for finding out for sure other than sometimes there are very few books in there and other times it’s packed full.”
The Sauk Centre Thrivent Financial has made three additional free library boxes. Instead of going through the online supplier, the company had a person from Belgrade make the boxes for a more reasonable cost. Two of the three boxes have found homes in Cold Spring and Belgrade, but one of them is still needing a community to adopt it.
They are also trying to get one in Melrose.
Placing another library at the Sinclair Lewis Park in Sauk Centre is still in the plans, but this would require a weatherproof box.
If community members would like to make a large book donation, they may leave donations at Nelson’s home. They may set books by his small garage door at 555 Fourth Street North, Sauk Centre.
All types of books are accepted, but Nelson does make one request:
“Right now, there has hardly been any children books. It’s mostly been adult books. I’ve been involved with the school district, and I would like to see more children books exchanged because it promotes reading, but it’s still been a good turnover with a little bit of everything.”
The Little Free Library is an alternative to the public library. The hours are flexible if not always open, no late fees aare charged, and it is supported purely by community involvement.