St. Pete woman creates 236 ‘Little Free Libraries,’ gets international award

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St.Petersburg woman has received an international award for her work creating a “Free Little Library” in her community.

Kristine Dowhan started a Small Free Library in a phone booth at her home when the coronavirus pandemic shut down public libraries. Dowhan said she is an avid reader.

“I always have five to ten library books on hand, and the pandemic immediately cuts off the supply as soon as the time spent reading in the quarantine increases,” she said.

Dowhan had the idea to keep himself busy and help others during trying times.

“I cleaned out my bookshelves, put the books on a Chinese bookcase at the end of our driveway, had 20-30 people stop and take or leave the books, and everything was fine,” she said. developed from there.

The phone booth addition came from a Hudson man who brought the phone booth from his home in New Jersey. The stall had a phone that worked for 20 years and he kept it in his kitchen.

The man’s son inherited the stall and sold it to Dowhan for $700. It currently has a unique little library.

In addition to the phone booth, Dowhan and her volunteers upgraded old Tampa Bay Times newsstands around the area.

She got the idea because she wanted a dedicated children’s library and said that a newsstand with a phone booth seemed appropriate.

“The Tampa Bay Times already has extras that they are willing to part with. I took two more in case some friends wanted to join. In the end, I found six people who wanted to join, so I took four more for a total of seven,” Dowhan said.

More and more people are wanting to join the Small Free Library movement, she said, and every last stand that’s left empty is being used for their efforts.

“People continue to create libraries and join our managed Facebook group,” says Dowhan.

The network of more than 260 curators that create Little Free Libraries has grown through word of mouth and Facebook.

The community response since Dowhan started creating Little Free Libraries has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Positive energy is overwhelming, and I am grateful for the support of the project. It was amazing,” she said.

Now that public libraries are open and coronavirus restrictions lifted, Dowhan said she’s grateful she never has to worry about accessing books for herself – and other readers. in St.Petersburg also no worries.

There are more than 200,000 books moving around the Free Small Libraries.

“I’m even more excited that so many other people now have access to books that might not. Not everyone can easily drive to their public library,” said Dowhan.

Dowhan is one of six people to have received the international Small Free Library award for her hard work.

The locations of Dowhan’s Free Mini Libraries can be found online and direct donations can be made to further the effort.

https://www.wfla.com/news/pinellas-county/st-pete-woman-creates-236-little-free-libraries-gets-international-award/ St. Pete woman creates 236 ‘Little Free Libraries,’ gets international award

Alley Einstein

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