TUPELO • The Lee County Library and the city’s parks and recreation department partnered on Tuesday to install small, wooden “libraries,” where the public can take books out of a stand-alone structure and read them for free.
The libraries, called Little Free Libraries, are similar to large wooden mailboxes and are now available in Robins Field and Gumtree Park. Anyone can take a book from the library, but people are encouraged to either return the book they checked out or return a separate book to the library.
Jeff Tomlinson, the director of the Lee-Itawamba Library System, told the Daily Journal the libraries were purchased by the Friends of the Lee County Library and he hopes there will be more libraries installed in public places around the city.
“This idea came from the Friends of the Lee County Library,” Tomlinson said. “The goal is to place these libraries where people already go.”
Becky Rollins, the president of the Friends of the Lee County Library, said this idea is centered around the organization’s efforts to give back to the community and connect more people with the Lee County Library.
“We think reading is so important,” Rollins said. “It would be nice if people did bring another book up here or return a different book.”
Alex Farned, the director of the Tupelo Parks and Recreation Department, said he was glad to work with the library on this project and hopes there will be more libraries installed at parks.
“It’s a good partnership between the city and the library,” Farned said. “We’re proud to work with them on this.”
There are also similar libraries around the city that have been built by individuals, but these are the first libraries to be installed by the city and the library.
Travis Beard and Nettie Davis, both members of the Tupelo City Council and former educators, were at the installation of one of the libraries at Robins Field and said they support this partnership and hope the public will use the libraries.
Beard said transportation can be a problem for some children, so giving them access to free books in public spaces is vital. Likewise, Davis said it’s important, especially for younger children, to have access to literature, and this library is very accessible.