ARGYLE — North Texas Book Festival Inc. is helping town residents and businesses establish miniature libraries throughout the town where people can exchange books for free.
Because Argyle doesn’t have a library, resident Karen Kiel approached the nonprofit organization and planted the idea to have Little Free Library posts established throughout the town and officials agreed to endorse it.
North Texas Book Festival officials agreed to cover the cost of the membership needed to have a library installed for the first 10 people who volunteer to install a Little Free Library post on their properties.
“NTBF [North Texas Book Festival] pays for the membership, but the person or business putting up the Little Free Library buys the library,” said founder Lynn Simmons.
“I think people will really enjoy exchanging books.”
The Little Free Library is part of a national organization of the same name that promotes literacy and reading.
According to the Little Free Library website, libraries start at $250 to purchase. The libraries are outdoor fixtures that can be placed in the yard of a resident’s home or in front of a business.
The birdhouse-shaped library has two shelves and is a little more than 5 feet tall.
Residents can check books out for free, but to check one out, a person must exchange it for one of their own.
Residents Dave and Kathy Salisbury volunteered to install the first Little Free Library last week in front of their business, The Real Estate Station located at 702 N. U.S. Highway 377 in Argyle.
“We’re really happy about it,” Kathy Salisbury said. “We hope to have more of these all over the area. It’s a new concept, but hopefully through the word of mouth, it will spread.”
The couple said they were searching for a location to establish another library at their expense.
“Ours was paid for, so this will be our way of paying it forward,” she said.
A few residents have tried to get a town library approved in Argyle for several years, according to Salisbury and Simmons.
“We’re hoping the little libraries will blanket the town,” Kathy Salisbury said. “There are so many good spots in town for these, and they’ll be good for kids, especially when school is out and the school libraries are closed.”
The two-shelf structure will hold books for all ages, including mysteries, romance, history and cookbooks.
“I haven’t caught anyone using the library yet, but I have noticed some book rotation,” she said.
North Texas Book Festival is accepting book donations and is asking residents to volunteer to help with the Little Free Library locations.
Residents interested in designing their own library and installing it on their property can contact Simmons at 940-464-3368 for more information.
Simmons said she is in the process of finalizing the locations of additional libraries and expects them to be installed soon.
“We’ve been trying for years to get a library in the town,” Simmons said. “This gets us closer to the idea and curtails our needs just a bit, but we’re very pleased with what we’re doing now.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .