Special Little Free Library installed in west Cullman

Left to right are Patrick Martin, Sharon Townson, Renee Welsh, Justin Patterson, Susan Hauk, Steve Sides, Sgt. Joey Duncan, Capt. Gene Bates, Officer Jonathan England and Officer Kyle Foshee at Tuesday morning’s celebration. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman County on Tuesday morning celebrated with a ribbon cutting the recently installed Little Free Library located at the corner of Rosemont Avenue and Second Street Southwest, the site of the Cullman Police Department’s westside precinct.

Among those attending the ceremony was Susan Hauk, who donated her grandmother’s china cabinet for the project. The cabinet, rich with sentimental value, was made into a curbside library by Hauk’s son-in-law, Justin Patterson. He even added solar-powered lights to illuminate the cabinet after dark.

“It was my grandmother Martin’s,” Hauk said. “Nobody wanted or needed this little china cabinet. Justin was looking around to help the Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman do a Little Free Library so he had been scouring looking for a cabinet of some kind that he could refigure. He hadn’t been having a whole lot of luck. I finally just asked him, ‘Justin, could you use that little cabinet that is in our basement?’ He said, ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’ I said, ‘I can’t think of a better use for it.’”

Added Hauk, “I think she would be really happy with this.”

She reminisced about the orange slice candies her grandmother would attempt to hide in the top corner of the cabinet. She was joined Tuesday morning by her brother Patrick Martin, who also brought a bag of books to place in the cabinet.

As Patterson looked over his creation, he said he stops by to check on it regularly. He worked on the cabinet over the course of a couple of months during his spare time.

Renee Welsh with the Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman County said of the location, “This is in a really grand place. This is a wonderfully accessed place.”

The books inside the cabinet were donated by numerous patrons, and Victoria’s Hope has committed to regularly supplying children’s books for the project.

The Little Free Library was installed a couple of weeks ago, and upon arriving Tuesday morning, organizers were pleased to find that community members have made sure the cabinet remains stocked with books, food and snacks. Cullman County Public Library Director Sharon Townson also packed the library with puzzles and dozens of books for kids and adults.

Welsh explained, “The Friends of the Public Libraries have two missions. One is to encourage and enhance the community for reading and having access to libraries, all of the branches. One of those ways is through Little Free Libraries and the other is through grant writing.”

Besides thanking Hauk, Patterson and Victoria’s Hope, Welsh also thanked both the Cullman Police Department and Steve Sides with the Cullman Housing Authority for allowing the library to be placed on the CPD’s property.

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Christy Perry