The Saugerties Public Library, with its centralized location in the village, is an easy walk for many residents, and particularly convenient for students at Cahill Elementary and the junior/senior high school. But Saugerties is a large town — the largest in the county — and for some it can be a half-hour round-trip.
A desire to reach those who live in such communities drove the effort to begin researching and eventually installing 12 “Little Free Libraries,” according to John Remington, library trustee and chair of the Outreach Committee.
“We were looking for a way to reach out to the community with something significant and useful,” said Remington. Former library director Frank Reis mentioned the Little Free Library idea, which has been successful elsewhere. The committee researched it and approached the Friends of the Library, which agreed to fund it.
Little Free Libraries are small wooden structures installed in public locations that hold books free for the taking or trading. The supply comes from books that didn’t sell during the annual Library Fair, and are thoughtfully chosen, with a blend of nonfiction, fiction and children’s books. Familiarity with the area where the libraries are installed helped to customize the content, according to Remington, who noted that at The Birches, where there are few children, no juvenile literature was included.
Just as the books were chosen with care, so were the locations. Because the effort was initially about outreach, Remington says, the choice of locations was “pretty much driven by underserved areas further from the village and the actual library. Some are in mobile home parks, senior citizen and low-income housing, as well as in recreational areas, which will be more of a seasonal use but still effective, we hope, for those times of year.”
Others, which are in the village, including those in front of the Saugerties Post Office, Emmanuel Church on Partition St. and Price Chopper, were chosen because of the high foot traffic.
With Little Free Libraries installed in Mount Marion and Glasco, too, the Friends of the Library made an effort to “have the initial placement be geographically representational throughout the town,” according to Remington.
Maintenance of the libraries, ensuring that books are kept in stock and that the ratio of fiction to nonfiction is appropriate, for instance, will be completed by residents in the communities who have “adopted” the small structures. They will also be tasked with ensuring books from the public library do not get returned there.
The Friends of the Library intend to continue directing their fundraising efforts to the installation of additional Little Free Libraries in the upcoming years. Remington says, “In five years I would think we’d have enough Little Free Libraries around the town and village of Saugerties that every neighborhood and geographical area would be represented by at least one.”
Hickory Ridge Apartments – 13 Village Drive
Glasco Firehouse/Little League Field
Mt. Marion Park – Park Circle
Sunset Woods Mobile Home Park – Off Glasco Turnpike on Timberwall Rd
Pine Grove School Road Subdivision
Saugerties Post Office
Cantine Field Ice Arena
The Birches – 100 The Birches, off 9W
Glasco Riverside Park – Glasco
Emmanuel Church – Partition Street
Price Chopper – Saugerties
Cantine Field – Large Pavilion