GUERNSEY – There have been many miracle stories of how things have changed for the better during the coronavirus, and one little miracle story is the new library in Guernsey that opened less than a week ago on a front lawn at 351 S. Kansas Street.
It is a little concept that was adopted by a big/little world-wide movement to provide books to be checked on the honor system has sprung forth during the recent pandemic. Their motto is “take a book, share a book.”
The Little Free Library boasts more than 100,000 book-sharing boxes worldwide, and the nonprofit organization doesn’t own one of them. At their website, littlefreelibray.org, the claim is they are the world’s largest book-sharing movement and their vision is to build community, spark creativity and inspire readers.
The concept in Guernsey was inspired the world-wide nonprofit.
Sally Mack’s husband, a retired special education teacher who also ran a computer lab, built the “library box” which is standard for the national movement, but with some special additions. The first thing you will notice about the mini-library building is that it is painted a bright yellow that most likely could be seen in the dark … from space. It has a gabled roof with a special sign over the plexiglass doors that reads, “S & S Little Free Library,” which are the initials for the two women responsible for bringing the vision to life. They are pretty sure no permits were needed to build their creation in the Mack’s front yard.
Sally Mack, a retired school librarian who was in the school system for 38 years and Sarah Sellars who worked for 22 years with Wyoming Agriculture Statistics and currently works in administration for Guernsey’s Banner medical clinic have compiled a library of books from word books to early readers all the way up to adults and presently they have 30 books and a few toys. The policy is simple.
“Take a book to read,” Sally said, “Either return it, return a different book, or just enjoy it.”
It was quite a step to to create this venture, they said. But as many other people are affected by the virus, the focus is on how to help and how improve, trying to make life better for those around you.
“I’ve always loved books and always loved reading,” Sellars said. “And Sally and I like just creating different things, so actually this is our second little library. The first one fell apart and we said, this is just a really good time to rebuild it.”
The ill-fated first project literally saw its little building fall apart. Although some people would have said that it was a noble try, the team of Mack and Sellars would not rest until their phoenix would rise again from the ashes, so to speak.
As far as restrictions, the library is outdoors and without a huge influx of people, the standard social distancing and common sense is the key.
Sally Mack, in addition to the library in her front yard, actually volunteers at the Guernsey library.
“I actually volunteer there since I retired,” she said. “I do preschool and the summer reading program. And right now, I’ve been doing that online.”
The local library does do curbside pickup and delivery for local residents. As for the new S & S Little Free Library, you must take it upon yourself to get out, take a walk and enjoy the Wyoming spring browsing the new facility.
The books have initially been stocked by Mack and Sellars.
“I pick them up as I also work in the thrift store here in town,” Mack said. “And when we decide we need to get rid of some books because we don’t have any more room, I usually go through them and find a few. I just stack them up for a while and put them out.”
For more information on S & S Little Free Library, you can go to Sally Mack’s Facebook page.
The entire interview with the Macks and Sarah Sellars will appear on a future episode of “Homespun” which is a new web-based video podcast of interviews with people from the Platte County area and was created to get to know your neighbors and your businesses on a more personal level.