Over the past few months, a small wooden box on the front lawn of a Camden home has been drawing attention. Many a passersby has taken a closer look to discover that the box contains a collection of books, a sign announcing "Free Little Library," and an invitation to take or leave a book.
"We came across the idea when we were traveling, and loved it. It’s a simple way to make books accessible, and the response has been great," local attorney and Camden Rotarian Michael Wright said.
Wright placed the box in front of his home in July 2014. With no obligation to return an item, and no charge to take one, free little libraries have become an international sensation. Wright’s library in Camden joins hundreds around the world.
As part of this year’s emphasis on literacy, the Camden and West Wateree Rotary Clubs are joining forces to create even more local free little libraries throughout Kershaw County. With the goal to promote reading to children and families, Rotary members will sponsor free little libraries in Cassatt, Westville, and Lugoff -- all areas that do not have convenient access to a public library or bookmobile service.
"I’m hoping this will make sharing books exciting and easy. Visiting these free little libraries can become a fun reward for any family," Amy Schofield, Kershaw County Library Director and Literacy Committee Chair for the West Wateree Rotary Club said.
With the hope of producing creative structures and spreading the word about this worthwhile project, woodworkers are invited to enter a competition to create the library boxes. Entries will be displayed at the Camden Library, with the winner selected through votes cast by the community and club members. All boxes must be no larger than 24 inches wide, 30 inches high and 18 inches deep. Additionally, the boxes must be made with weatherproof material. Each entry will need to be able to have a wooden pole mounted beneath once it is installed in a permanent location. The value of the "Little Library" would be a tax deductible donation.
Entries will be accepted throughout April at the Camden Branch of the Kershaw County Library, 1304 Broad St. The community is invited to vote on their favorite design during the first week of May, when all entries will be on display. A winner will be announced in late May.
Entry forms may be picked up at any Kershaw County Library location, or by emailing jenniferl@kershawcountyli brary.org