The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Little libraries more than a box of books


Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

John Wiebe and family with their little free library.

There are several little free libraries in Shafter now, giving residents a chance to read a book without having to go to the library. These libraries are maintained and stocked by their owners. People are also encouraged to return the book when finished or maybe replace it with a different book.

But, did you know that the little libraries are much more than just a place to grab a book. Illustrating this point is an instance where a little library helped a little boy in distress. About 3 years ago, Katie Wiebe and her family made the decision to place a Little Free Library in their front yard. As stewards, they would fill their box with books and watch with joy as they leave in the hands of their neighbors. They would also leave sidewalk chalk in their box and regularly find pictures and thank you notes from those who visit. These messages always brightened their day!

A few months after they installed their library one of their 3rd grade neighbor boys ran to their house after realizing he was locked out of his. He was very concerned and had no way to get in. He asked to use Katie's cell phone to call his grandma. As he was talking to his grandma, Wiebe realized that she assumed he was at his next door neighbor's house, but instead, he skipped the six houses closest to his, and came to theirs. Why, she wondered?

But as his conversation with his grandma progressed, he described their house as the one with the "little library box" in front. Then it hit her. He chose to come to their house because of their Little Free Library. He saw their house as safe and welcoming because of the books that they share. She quickly realized that their library was more than a way for them to share books.

The Wiebe's Little Free Library shows their neighbors that they really care, that they are rooted in their neighborhood, and invested in the well-being of those around them. Each of these things is

true for many, of course, but their Little Free Library box is a tangible reminder of this fact to all who pass their house.

"We are so thankful for the way this simple Little Free Library box has connected us to our neighbors," Wiebe said. "And don't worry, our neighbor boy got into his house after just a few minutes of snacks and hang-out time at ours. Turns out his grandpa simply fell asleep with the doors locked."


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