By Ina and Mike Levin
Walking and reading seem like two disparate entities, don’t they? Whatever do they have in common? Throughout this time of COVID-19, walking and reading have acquired a very special place in our lives. They have helped us to maintain our equilibrium, both literally with walking and figuratively with reading. And, yes, the two do meet.
In Belmont Heights, while out walking, we have found they come together in many places. Those who have opted to house Little Free Libraries do a real service to those of us who love to walk and read. We can’t even count how many times we have stopped to look at a library that someone has so generously placed at the edge of their lawn.
The Little Free Library movement was founded by Todd Bol in 2009. It began as a tribute to his mother who had been a schoolteacher. It inspires literacy, sparks creativity, and helps build community. The movement’s motto is six simple words, “Take a Book, Return a Book.” To be an official Little Free Library, the person’s library needs to be registered with the organization. As you walk the Heights you will see some of these. You will also find some caring folk who have opted to create their own libraries.
Chartered or not, the generosity of those hosting them is greatly appreciated. Although the libraries look unique, they all house books that are free for the taking. You can take your time perusing them and then take a book. Your only obligation is that when you are finished you are expected to return it. We often find ourselves returning more than one book but not always to the library from which we borrowed it, which we think is fine—it moves the titles all around the Heights. While we may have our hands free when we begin our walk, our hands are full when we return.
COVID-19 Practices: Take some disposable gloves with you so you can feel safe when browsing and taking a book. Wash your hands well as soon as you get home. Leave the book in a closet to quarantine it for 24 hours.