DAR chapter plans to install Little Free Library in downtown Salem

This Little Free Library box will be installed next month just west of the State Street entrance to the parking lot of Liberty Park at the corner of State and Ellsworth in Salem, giving anyone who walks by an opportunity to take a book to read and place another book in its place. The library is part of a literacy promotion effort by the Mahoning Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. (Submitted photo)

SALEM — An area group announced plans to install a little box of books in downtown Salem next month in hopes of having a big impact on literacy and education going forward.

Known as a Little Free Library, the wooden box will be mounted on a pole and placed just off of the Liberty Park parking lot entrance on East State Street, just east of the intersection at State and Ellsworth. The box is white with a flag on the side and says Daughters of the American Revolution on the door. The Mahoning Chapter of the DAR is sponsoring the Little Free Library and will maintain it.

“The whole idea is take a book, leave a book,” Mahoning Chapter DAR Regent Sarah Keeler said.

Keeler recently approached Salem Mayor John Berlin about the idea. Berlin said the city is checking with the Ohio Utilities Protection Service to make sure it’s ok to dig in the chosen spot just off the sidewalk to the west of the entrance. The door on the box will face State Street.

Berlin said the location will be highly visible and that area gets a lot of foot traffic from people walking on the sidewalk or going to their vehicle in the parking lot. Plus the location will make it easy to maintain since several members of the DAR chapter live in Salem and Keeler actually works in an office next to the parking lot.

He said the Little Free Library wouldn’t be competition for the Salem Public Library, but would add to what the library offers, giving users a place to grab a book to read and share a book they’ve already read by leaving it behind for someone else.

Berlin said maybe if people come there to get a book, and they like the particular author or subject matter, maybe it will spark them to go to the Salem Public Library. He said it’s an asset to the city and “maybe in some small way, this can help the library.”

According to the DAR group’s website at mahoningdar.com, the “National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR) is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization.” To join, a potential member must “prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution.”

Keeler said one of the pillars of what the DAR does in the community is education and literacy promotion. The Little Free Library is a way to promote literacy through reading and the sharing of books of all kinds for all age groups. The members will share some of their own used books to get the little library started. The box should fit about 20 books, including paperbacks and new release hardbacks. This project is a way to do something for the Mahoning DAR’s Columbiana County members.

“I think it will attract a lot of participants,” she said.

People will have access to the Little Free Library 24/7. The small boxes mounted on posts are dotting landscapes all over Ohio, the United States and the world. To learn more about the movement, visit littlefreelibrary.org.

In talking about the Mahoning DAR organization, Keeler said they work a lot with veterans, both those who previously served and those serving active duty. The group has a golf outing planned on May 11 at Knoll Run Golf Course in Lowellville.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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