Little Library on the Rail Trail
By Alan Rothman
Why have one library in Gardiner when you can have two, or perhaps even three?
Marie Zapf and John Tenuto have created, and maintain, a small, free exchange library that is located where the rail trail crosses Main Street in Gardiner. Appropriately, it is designed to look like a train box car. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for several years. I just needed to find the person to make it,” Marie told me.
John Tenuto, who has been a woodworking hobbyist for many years, worked with Marie to create it. They found another free library on the internet in the shape of a box car, and based their design on it. They bought a full sheet of wainscoting and other supplies and built and painted it from scratch. Consent was received from both the town and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to have it installed in an area that Marie described as very busy with many people passing by. She calls the creation the “Little Library Line.”
The response has been very positive. People seem to love donating and borrowing books from there. A bench nearby allows people to sit and read. Marie has collaborated often with Nicole Lane, Director of the big Gardiner Library up the road. “Nicole is more than willing to supply us with books when there is a lull,” Marie explained.
The Little Library Line is affiliated with an international organization called the Little Free Library. Its mission is, “to inspire a love of reading, build community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.” (littlefreelibrary.org)
John told me, “Marie already has plans for the leftover wood. We’re going to make a caboose. “For down by the Yard Owl where kids play,” Marie added. It will primarily hold children’s books. For now, check out the beautiful workmanship of the one on the rail trail. And, of course, bring some books and take out some books.