Purchase photos

A mobile library pops up

6/23/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Surrounded by slides, monkey bars and swings sits a pillar of knowledge. Decorated to resemble a house in the midst of nature where butterflies frolic and flowers bloom, it reads "Take a Book. Leave a Book."

Sitting in the middle of Seven Hills Park is a library -- a Little Free Library.

The implementation of the "take a book, leave a book" library began approximately a year ago at a monthly librarian meeting attended by Hays Public Library staff.

"We started exploring the idea," said Lucy Bain, Kansas Room librarian. "Since my department had funding for it, I took lead on the project."

The library ordered the basic Little Free Library, which came fully constructed. It was erected in April.

"We were approached by the library last year," said Jeff Boyle, director of parks. "I was not familiar with (the program) at the time, but it seemed like a really neat idea. It was a good way to get kids involved and encourage reading."

The Little Free Library seems to be in use, especially for children, Bain said.

"There's no return policy," Bain said. "You don't even need to put in a book to take one out. Anyone can take books. Anyone can leave books. There are a lot of kids that use the park, so I hope a lot of children's books go into hands that want and need them."

Seven Hills Park was chosen due to the amount of children frequenting the park and lack of an irrigation system.

"If the kids are benefiting from it, that's what we're here for," Boyle said. "It seems like a worthwhile thing for us to assist with. We're certainty willing to work with the library and try to get more of those out, if it's deemed beneficial to the public and the kids."

Plans are in place for a second Little Free Library at Hays Aquatic Park.

"It's a really great way to extend our library services to get information into the hands of people," Bain said. "It just gives us another arm into the community, and I think anytime we can provide information to people, no matter the source or medium, we are doing our job."

Seven Hills Park is located at 33rd and Hillcrest.