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Shrewsbury family shares their love of books with others through their ‘Little Library’

By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer

Jane, Charlotte and Carter Siebels and their Little Free Library. (Photo/Melanie Petrucci)

Shrewsbury – The Siebels family, who live on School Street in Shrewsbury, moved to town about two years ago. Like many who are new to town, they wanted to connect with their neighbors and their new community and they found a really interesting way to achieve this while sharing their love of reading. They built their own Little Library that sits in their front lawn near the road.

“Take a Book, Return a Book” is the motto behind a movement that began in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis., wanted to honor his late mother who was a teacher and loved to read. He built a model of a one-room schoolhouse which he filled with books and displayed it on a post in his front yard hoping that passersby would feel free to take a book. Friends and neighbors loved it so much, he built and gave away many more.

This movement officially became the Little Free Library in 2010 and, according to the Little Free Library website, https://littlefreelibrary.org, there were over 50,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 states and over 70 countries around the world as of November of 2016.

In Shrewsbury, there are a couple of known Little Libraries. The Seibels’ library is officially registered with The Little Free Library organization. They are part a network that believes in fostering the love of reading while increasing access to books within communities in creative ways.

Jane Seibel and her husband Troy are theater people. Jane, now a stay at home mom, is a former stage manager and Troy is president and CEO of the Hanover Theater in Worcester. Jane is originally from Maryland and Troy hails from Colorado but the two met in New Hampshire. Having lived in other Massachusetts communities, they have put down roots in Shrewsbury while they raise their two children, son Carter, 10, and daughter Charlotte, 6.

Jane admits she doesn’t remember where she first learned of the idea for the library, but it was on her list of things she wanted to do after settling into their new home in Shrewsbury. They did their research and found the Little Free Library website.

“You can get information about how it works, register and there are designs you can buy or model your own after,” she said.

Having begun his career building theater scenery, Troy built their library himself and they chose the schoolhouse design since they live on School Street. It took a couple of months and he installed it last October.

Jane said of her husband Troy, “He’s a handy boy.”

The only advertising they have done has been either through Facebook, word of mouth or from people driving or walking by. Because their Little Library is registered with the Little Free Library organization, they receive benefits such as listing their library on their website and regular member updates with suggestions, ideas and general support.

Jane recounted that she had contact from a woman visiting from Mississippi who had her own library and sought hers out while in town. She stopped by and left a little note inside Jane’s library which thrilled the Seibels family. Since posting on the local Shrewsbury pages of Facebook, Jane reported that the response has really taken off.

The Siebels’ library has books for all ages and they also welcome the exchange of puzzles. Jane noted that John Grisham and Elin Hilderbrand are very popular authors. She estimated that approximately 100 books have turned over since October. She has placed a stamp inside each of her books denoting where they come from.

“I just like the idea of it; you don’t know what you are going to get,” Jane said. “It’s a little surprise.”

Her son Carter added, “It’s a great opportunity to connect the people in our community and to meet people.”

The Seibels hope to keep their library active for as long as they live in Shrewsbury.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=91008

Posted by on Jul 25 2017. Filed under Byline Stories, Highlight, Neighbors helping neighbors, Neighbors in the news, People and Places, Shrewsbury. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Shrewsbury family shares their love of books with others through their ‘Little Library’”

  1. What a wonderful program to promote literacy and connection in your neighborhood. After reading the article, I drove over this afternoon to donate my two picture books,”Playgroup Time,” and “Three Best Friends,” for children to enjoy reading.

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