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A little literature for the holidays
Outside the bright red Big Barn Farm on Kitchen-Dick Road, where barn dances bring a flurry of fun lies a box of adventure, mystery and drama waiting for you to open it.
Inside the little replica red barn is Sequim’s first Little Free Library, co-founded by 12-year-old Sequim boy Tane Ridle and his aunt Erin Ridle of Portland, Ore. The little library is exactly as it sounds — all free and available to anyone.
“You take a book and leave a book. It’s as simple as that,” Tane said.
The sixth-grader at Sequim Middle School setup the library with his aunt and Uncle Jason this summer and slowly people are learning about the treasures inside. Tane left a comment book inside and the notes have been encouraging.
“The book rocked. I love this library (smiley face),” one reader said.
Others have said it was “awesome,” “adorable,” “cute” and a “boost for community.”
Even though it’s been up for nearly six months, visitors tend to come while he’s in school so he hasn’t been able to meet any readers yet. The first reader came the day after they put it up.
“It’s fun to see the comments. It’d be fun to meet someone and tell them what it’s all about,” Tane said.
He hopes awareness grows for his and other libraries.
“I hope people will come here, see the little library and come back,” he said. “Maybe more people can come and meet each other through it.”
Worldwide reading phenomenon
Tane’s little library was certified “Little Free Library of Distinction” 7,173 shortly after making it.
As part of this distinction, the library’s location goes onto littlefreelibrary.org where it’s put on a map with all the world’s little libraries. It’s one of four locally with one in Port Angeles, Port Hadlock and Port Townsend.
Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis., started the Little Free Library concept in 2009 with a model one-room-schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading, and filled it with books in his front yard. From there he partnered with Rick Brooks of Madison, Wis., and the idea blossomed with an estimated 10,000-12,000 little libraries in the world by January.
Erin Ridle gave the idea to Tane after she came across two references of the library in the same day. They started planning more than a year ago before building it.
“Tane loves reading, so I thought it’d be perfect for him,” she said.
Inside are mostly adult books, but Tane said he tries to put things for all ages including children’s books.
He just started reading a book from inside last week and he’s read at least six from it since starting.
Don’t expect to see the same thing twice either as Tane tries to keep books circulating by moving books that might not be as popular.
Right now, the library is filled tight with dozens of books. Tane suspects that as awareness grows so will the library.
But he doesn’t think his library is going to grow as big or affect the Sequim Library.
“I try to go to Sequim Library as much as I can. They have a lot of good books,” he said.
Tane and Erin stocked up their library with mostly their own books to start. Erin even obtained books from BookMooch.com, a free book sharing site where users pay for shipping to share books, by using some of her points for the little library.
Anyone in Sequim, Port Angeles or the world is encouraged to start a little library, Tane said.
On the Little Free Library’s site, organizers encourage little libraries to be near each other because of people’s vast tastes in reading.
“Anyone can set it up,” Tane said. “You just have to go to the website.”
As for the Sequim Little Free Library, Tane and his family say come anytime.
Visit the Sequim Little Free Library at 702 Kitchen-Dick Road. For more information, visit littlefreelibrary.org.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.