Wouldn’t it be cool, I thought, if somebody could make a map of my town’s Little Free Libraries?
After all, we love ’em, right?
I see them here and there in a random, disorganized way. Where are they exactly? And how many are there?
So I did a little crowdsourcing — and internet sleuthing — and came up with a starter list. I doubt that it’s complete. And one could certainly make the argument that such a list should include other nearby, closely connected neighborhoods of Bethlehem proper.
But I’m happy to just start the ball rolling. If you know of another neighborhood LFL that I’ve missed, please let me know and I’ll include it here in what could ultimately become a Master List.
As for that nifty map? Sorry, I don’t have those cartography skills. Truth is, I hardly have any skills at all!
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED
For the tour, I grabbed a bunch of books that were around the house, since the concept of a LFL is to “Take a Book, Leave a Book.” Because we recently had a “bear scare” in our little town, I figured that young readers might be primed for Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Bear Scare. Besides, I had a pile of ’em doing nothing in a closet.
ADDENDUM NOTE (6/18/21): I’ve updated this list with 4 more LFLs, addresses at the bottom of the tour.
14 PARTRIDGE ROAD
A lovely beginning. This LFL contained almost exclusively adult titles. Neat and tidy. As our tour proceeds, I’ll refrain from rating individual libraries. I imagine that the quality of the books ebb and flow, according to usage, though I am convinced that the best LFLs are actively curated. Some old titles are better tossed in the trash, especially if no one grabs one after a period of time.
9 CATHERINE STREET
Gorgeous — I wish my house looked this good. And during my visit, this fine libary featured almost exclusively children’s books! Perfection.
101 ADAMS PLACE
There’s a fun hit-and-miss quality to visiting a LFL, not unlike stopping at a garage sale or thrift shop. Sometimes you hit gold, other times you decide to check back another day. Regardless, I’m always happy to leave a book — and grateful to the owners for sharing these libraries with our community.
160 ADAMS PLACE
A surprisingly high percentage of these people are my friends. Maybe not that surprising, since I’m drawn to book people and, of course, these LFLs are in my purview. Here’s an example of the odd kind of book you can find. Nothing I’d ever search for, or even think I’d like, but interesting. I didn’t take it home — but I almost did.
107 ELSMERE AVENUE
This is on the corner of Elsmere and Norge. I drive past it all the time. The trick is to turn on Norge, climb out of the automobile, and take a look. Or, better yet, walk or take a bike. Worth a stop.
25 LINDA COURT
We don’t play favorites here at James Preller Dot Com. But this is the sweetest LFL I came across on the tour. Good vibes abound, you can sense a child’s touch. Also, a different approach in the construction. It looks . . . portable!
18 WOODRIDGE ROAD
Beautifully constructed and curated with a nice balance of children’s and adult’s, literary and popular. Big bonus for the tasteful peace sign attached to the side. Just the right touch. Book people are the best people.
24 TIERNEY DRIVE
Must have been my lucky day, because I coveted quite a few titles in this LFL. Excellent balance of children’s books on the top shelf, literary fiction for adults in the main section. I was tempted to saw it off at the base and carry it home. But that would have been wrong. Right?
1 JUNIPER DRIVE
An interesting location, in front of Adams Station Apartments. The books here were, on this day, very much the type that are consumed by avid readers. My money says this is a much-frequented LFL.
RAIL TRAIL, ADAMS STREET. & HUDSON AVENUE
I don’t know who takes care of this LFL — but what an awesome location. Next time you go for a walk on the Rail Trail, or a jog, bring a gently used (and enjoyed) book that’s sitting around your home. Trade it in for something new.
311 KENWOOD AVENUE
Fancy lighting, don’t you think? This one is super close to the middle school, sure to get a lot of readers passing by. If you’ve good books for grades 6-8 readers, this is the place where you could donate a few.
51 FAIRWAY AVENUE
This is the last stop on our tour, 12 Little Free Libraries in all. This one has no window, no sign — but don’t let that fool you. It’s yet another LFL, sharing books with anyone who stops by, complete with a nearby bench where weary travelers can read, rest, and reflect. The owners will even let you jump in their pool. Well, maybe you ought to ask first.
THUS ENDS THE TOUR . . . 12 LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES IN ALL . . .
BUT MOSTLY, ALL I REALLY WANT TO SAY IS . . .
OWNERS, CARETAKERS, NEIGHBORS, READERS,
FOR PROMOTING LITERACY IN OUR COMMUNITY,
FOR BRINGING BOOKS FRONT AND CENTER,
FOR SHARING THE LOVE OF READING,
FOR DOING ONE SMALL THING
TO MAKE OUR TOWN A LITTLE BIT BETTER.
I’ve learned of four more local Little Free Libraries at the following locations:
93 Winnie Street
12 Plymouth Avenue
192 Adams Street
Rail Trail II: A big one on the Trail at the main parking lot off Kenwood, near MegN’s and the New Village Deli.
Here’s the result of my haul that day. I guess I have some reading to do. And when I’m done, I’ll pass the books along to a LFL near you.
Our neighborhood had a black bear (or two!) visit the area recently. The above photo was posted by a resident. Yes, bears love birdseed and compost heaps. Events like that inspired my book, Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Bear Scare, which is the title I stuck in every neighborhood Little Free Library. Watch out for those clues! The bear scat is highly suspicious . . .