“This world would be better off if everyone had a front porch.” (William Martin) Yesterday I read about a man who honored his mother by starting a neighborhood library. At the end of his driveway he placed a box called, The Little Free Library. A sign says, “Take a book. Leave a book.” Other places are now doing the same thing. What a great idea to promote neighborliness and to encourage reading. What’s it like to live where you live? ;-) Jack
FROM EDUCATOR PAUL: In Québec City, there is a neighborhood who made great use of a closed school. It was turned into a community center and "a toy library." People came in and checked out toys just like they did books. Kids loved it and parents saved tons of money. The library was started with donations and grants. Everything was very clean and always in working order...big and small. Stimulated my imagine as you may guess.====JACK: When opportunity and need and imagination come together, great things can be done.
FROM LS: Sam Pernick ( he was honored the evening you gave the invocation at the 14th district Democratic dinner a few years ago) the young Democratic Party leader's father Nat Pernick has one in front of his house in Huntington Woods on Ludlow. So cool. Children in the neighborhood are curious about it. My grandma had a front porch and often she was preparing beans and visiting with anyone and everyone who had the time to sit with her . I wish to this day to have a home with a front porch where all those that seek comforting conversation and love could gather. I ask and I receive. Now, my front porch travels with me wherever I go! I have enjoyed this moment on your front porch this morning. Have a good day. Thank you for being here for the conversation. ====JACK: We have the front porch. I'm now working on getting one of those little libraries built and installed in front of our home.====LS: One day I look forward to sitting with you on your front porch and sharing words of wisdom
FROM HONEST JOHN: I have seen several of those in Ann Arbor====JACK: Somehow, I'm not surprised that AA has them. I hope to get one in our neighborhood.
FROM MY LAWYER: Raining!!!====JACK: Right now we need the rain more than a Little Library. If we want a book we can always go to the big library.
FROM BS IN ENGLAND: We are using the old fashioned red phone boxes (now defunct due to mobile phones ) in villages as libraries. Take one, leave one. Great idea!====JACK: I like the idea of recycling the unused phone boxes. I'm putting on my thinking cap to see if I can come up with a similar idea.
FROM TARMART REV: ... one such box is seen in our community, as is another placed in a walk-up fashion, filled with small food items.====JACK: During the Great Depression my wife's grandmother lived next to the railroad tracks. Hobos would sometimes jump off the train and appear at her door asking for food. She never turned them away.====REV: I'll bet there was a "hobo marking" somewhere that indicated a "welcome sign" of sorts in their language.===JACK: She didn't mind. She just saw them as hungry people.
FROM BLAZING OAKS: We were just remarking on that on our trip to MI; LOVE those roomy porches like most of us grew up experiencing, and it often led to neighborly conversations. Ours was screened in, so pleasant to sit out there in late afternoon and evenings. In my present neighborhood, many retired folks have chairs on front patios or in front of garages, and sit out and visit, as most homes don't have porches as we knew them. We have many Little Free Libraries around Springfield and the area, built by boy scouts to earn badges! They are really nice, and seem to be used a lot. Agree with Wm. Martin today!====JACK: Ours is one of the few front porches in our neighborhood. Most houses have private patios and decks in the backyard, shielded by shrubbery or fences
FROM TAMPA SHIRL: SaWe all sort of watch out for each other. I have the same neighbors on both sides as we had when we moved here in1970!====JACK: That's 47 years ago. I thought that old people, not kids, moved to Florida.====SHIRL: We moved here in 1963 from Ann Arbor. Our new home was about a mile from that in 1970. It was in a wooded area where people used to come to shoot wild boar. The builder was putting up 30 houses each month. Lots of military and lots of children! What a wonderful life!====JACK: Life consists of all ages. Age is just a random number.
FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: We have one of those libraries in our neighborhood. There was a big article in the Star/Trib just yesterday about a neighborhood in Edina who are adding “front patios” to their homes to get to know their neighbors better. Good idea I think. I am going out to lunch today with my neighbors. We do it once a month!====JACK: The thought just occurred to me...Leave a music CD; take a CD.
FROM KF: When we downsize (working on our house so we can sell), #1 on my list for a new place is a front porch and screened in back porch so we can be outside even more. Rose and I used to count 100 fireflies at night in the summer before we'd go in. Our neighborhood is in transition ... we are one of the few original homeowners .... the 3 other houses on our little block have turned over 12 times in 25 years! About the "take a book, leave a book", we do that often with our vacation rentals! And participate in Bookstock every year - donating and buying. I have lots of "book friends" at church, too : ) My girls are big readers, too - we're working on Mark (I think he reads so much at work every day it has less recreational appeal for him).====JACK: We could even have a "Leave a book, take a book" table at church. Maybe "you" can start one.
FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA: So true. Love this!====JACK: What book would you leave? ====DONNA: The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah! Amazing book about a woman who saved many lives during World War II. Amazing characters.
FROM SUNSHINE: "neighbors" reminded me of the attached, which I wrote some time ago, ====JACK: It was fun to read about your "new" neighbors when you moved from the city to Appalachia. I'll forward it to any Winning Words people who want to read it.
FROM FOXY ROXY: We have a neighbor who just did this last week as her son requested it. Great idea====JACK: My question....Have you used it?
FROM HUNGRY HOWIE: This is something that is done throughout many Seattle neighborhoods. When I first saw this on a walk with My grandson when he was an infant I was startled that a box with books for the taking were just out in front of someone's house. It made me feel a connection to the community.====JACK: Have you noticed any difference in the neighborliness in Seattle compare to that where you live in Michigan?====HOWIE: Where I live now there is a whole new crop of kids running around, I like that. The neighbors are friendly and watch out for all.
In Seattle Laura and Blair live on a similar street. Lots of kids. The neighborhood formed a group and have permission from the city to actually close the street on Friday afternoon for four hours so they can play in the street. That's unusual. So, no difference in attitude or caring
FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: We've run across many of those little Libraries! We saw several in and around Cadillac this weekend. I was thinking of starting one out front. We live in the middle of farm country. Most of the vehicles traveling down our road are tractors, trailers and other farm equipment. Our neighbors are "front porch" people when they're not in the fields. They have helped us numerous times with stuck tractors, leveling around the barns, felling dead trees, cutting down brush...many tasks. We love it!!!====JACK: Your Little Library could be built in the shape of an outhouse., and big enough to hold a Sears catalog.
FROM CS IN RO: I have seen these all around Detroit for a few years--great idea!!====JACK: Have you ever used one? Here's an idea. Keep a book in your car. When you see a box, stop and make an exchange.Have you ever used one? Here's an idea. Keep a book in your car. When you see a box, stop and make an exchange.
FROM FACEBOOK LIZ: our neighbors are more likely to leave wine in the box... we love them, & they're all well-read, too!====JACK: You could dig a hole, put the box in the hole and call it "The Little Wine Cellar."