25 July 2012

New York's own Little Free Library

On Sunday I walked over to the Saint Marks Little Free Library, the newest book-related establishment in my neighborhood. Like the marriage of Bookmooch and Etsy, the Little Free Library movement encourages individuals to better their communities by building micro-libraries (or glorified take-one-leave-one shelves, if you will) in their towns. As the frequent beneficiary of such shelves, I am in love with this idea, but would people really respect it? New York's only Little Free Library is a wooden box like an extra-large birdhouse, but mounted on a pole at pedestrian height like a mailbox, in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Prospect Heights in Brooklyn. Spotting it from the corner of Saint Marks Avenue and Vanderbilt, I was surprised, for some reason, that no one was at it at the time; in fact a few of its neighbors watched me approach it without comment. The stash inside when I visited was mostly children's books, of the early-chapter-book variety; there was also a copy of Carl Hiassen's YA novel HOOT and a few Patrick O'Brians shoved in on the left side. The box was almost full already. To test the waters I left a few good hardcovers in there with a note suggesting the takers email me. We'll see if it works -- probably nothing will come of it. The feeling of peeking inside that tiny house as if I were getting away with something can't be matched anyway. I'll definitely check inside the box again -- it doesn't hurt that the site is around the corner from one of the Heights' best dessert vendors, Ample Hills Creamery. (Get the salted crack caramel. You're welcome.) My only other excursionary note is that on my walk to the Little Free Library I saw a man in, I swear, a Westish Harpooners T-shirt with "Skrimshander" on the back. I should have stopped to ask him about it but I was too bowled over to say anything. Who are you, person with clear good taste in literary shirt?

1 comment:

Wade Garrett said...

By coincidence, I passed the Little Free Library on saturday afternoon, walked past it, stopped, did a double-take, and backed-up to take a closer look. While I was looking at it, a woman who lives on St. Marks was coming the other way, and she told me about it, and was clearly proud to have it in her neighborhood.

Not as cool of a story as the Skrimshander shirt; that sounds awesome. I did see an Incandenza #72 shirt at the Wilco concert in Prospect Park on Tuesday, though.