Little Free Library open at Art Park

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Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism Executive Director Nathan Anderson, Haley Gormley and Cullman County Public Library System Director Sharon Townson cut the ribbon on the new Little Free Library at Art Park Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s newest Little Free Library (LFL) was officially opened Friday at Art Park (1031 Second St. SW). Representatives from the Cullman County Public Library System and Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism (CPRST) cut the ribbon, commemorating the latest LFL sponsored by the library system and the Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman County (FPLCC).

LFLs offer free books to anyone on an honor basis. Readers can “take a book, share a book.” LFL boxes are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, removing barriers to book access. The new box at Art Park was shipped in from the LFL organization in Wisconsin.

“People do construct them, and there are some gracious, generous, creative individuals who build them, but these withstand hurricane winds and tornado winds,” said FPLCC board member Renee Welsh. 

Emily Bussman, who serves on the Art Council and operates Sips n Strokes Cullman, was commissioned to paint the design on the new LFL. It is filled with mostly children’s books since families and children are the main visitors to Art Park.

Welsh, who regularly checks the library inventories, said, “This is empty at least three times a week.”

Cullman County Public Library System Director Sharon Townson said, “Renee keeps the ones that the library is associated with. We get tons of donations from all over the community. We try to pick out books and set those aside, and she’s kind enough to come by and take her time to visit the different ones and help keep those stocked. Of course, the idea is that if you take one, to leave one, but that’s not always the case and that’s fine. We try to keep them supplied.”

Welsh shared, “The first one that we installed was over on Rosemont (Avenue) almost two years ago this month, and it was right during the pandemic. People were putting food in there. It was so meaningful because it was highly used.”

The LFL on Rosemont Avenue is so popular that it kicked off the creation of several more.

The LFL at the Hilltop Senior Center (1545 Vine Circle SW) was placed there to support senior residents.

“It’s predominantly seniors, so the inventory of books lends itself more to adult reading,” said Welsh.

Each location attempts to cater the reading material to fit the surrounding demographic.

There are six LFLs owned by the Cullman County Public Library System, but there are several others in Cullman County created by those who want to share their love of reading. They can be found by visiting https://littlefreelibrary.org/map/.

Haley Gormley, 9, picks out a book from the Little Free Library at Art Park Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

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