Franklin Countys First News

Front Street pop up offers free books and a room of one’s own

Walking Books Library will host a pop up shop for the month of January on Front Street.

FARMINGTON - What started as a door-to-door giveaway has turned into a full fledged program that is gaining attention nation wide due to the work of an East Dixfield woman. The program will open shop for one month only at 161 Front Street with the hopes of garnering interest and promoting what it does best: hand out free books.

Walking Books Library is a branch of Appalachia North, spearheaded by Kelly Sterns. The informal group of volunteers focus on small projects that have a big impact on the local community, such as offering microscope kits for rent free of charge, getting free online subscriptions to the New York Times or getting new books into the hands of low-income children. Sterns specifically focuses on gathering and dispersing new, high quality books rather than used with the intention of spreading pride of ownership.

Sterns has collected thousands of dollars worth of new books- teaming up with the national organization First Book to get many of them. The Walking Books Library pop up shop showcases the many projects that Appalachia North has been working on and offers interactive installations for viewers to partake in.

"One of the biggest things I feel tickled about is this opportunity to show off what we’ve been up to the last few years. Even though I’ve been doing it, I don’t get to see all of what we’ve accomplished all at once," Sterns said. "This is a chance for the community to come in and see what we have to offer. Each person makes us bigger."

Including free books for the taking, shop goers will have the chance to experience Virginia Wolfe's theory of "having a room of one's own" by way of a small writing nook. There will be chapters in progress hung on the walls, written by Sterns herself, that are open to feedback from readers. Sterns is the author of several books, "Free Books on the County Line" will be a narrative history of Walking Books Library.

"The pop up gives us a chance to thank all the people who have sponsored us, gives people a chance to make suggestions for 2020 and it's a good time to talk to me about how to get books to your neighborhood if you've been wanting to do that," Sterns said.

The pop up shop opened on Jan. 6 and will run through the month. It will be open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The building is not handicap accessible, but Sterns is happy to deliver books to the parking lot by calling 491-3672.

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3 Responses »

  1. Please do stop in :).

  2. This is fantastic! And it gives me another opportunity to thank Kelly for the boxes of amazing books donated to Wonderland last summer. A couple hundred grateful children walked away with free books. A very worthwhile program worthy of praise, without a doubt!

  3. Kelly has given me books to give out at the Wilton Town Office and the looks on the children's faces when I tell them that they can keep the book is truly a blessing. Keep up the good work Kelly.

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