Franklin Countys First News

Little Free Libraries find new homes in Wilton parks

Pete Chamberlain's family help fill the Little Free Library at Kineowatha Park in honor of Pete's dedication to the community of Wilton.

WILTON - A village of tiny, colorful houses has landed in the parks of Wilton this summer, becoming home to a new community resource. The Little Free Library program is a world wide initiative that puts books in the hands of readers through a free, honor-based exchange system. Thanks to the work of the Wilton Free Public Library staff, volunteer community members and the inspiration of Pete Chamberlain, three new little libraries now exist in Kineowatha, Bass and Bishop Park.

The Little Free Library at Bass Park. The libraries were designed and constructed by volunteer Warren Scott.

"I've been fascinated by Little Free Libraries for about eight years now. When I started talking to Pete about them he got so excited and it occurred to all of us that we could actually make it happen," WFPL Director Jen Scott said.

Scott became director of the library last fall, and has not wasted any time making the most of her position. Aside from being a driving force behind the Little Free Libraries, Scott and her team at WFPL have brought well known authors to the library, as well as outdoor music, local farm tours and various entertainment.

"We've definitely seen an increase in traffic. People are visiting who we don't recognize, so that's great," Scott said.

For those who can't make it into the library, the Little Free Libraries provide reading material in an ultra-accessible way. By partnering with the town's Parks and Recreation Department, the staff at WFPL have not only brought books to the quiet, shady spaces of the parks, but have also strengthened the town's network of resources. When there was a need of space for an additional day of the free lunch program, the library stepped up to offer it- exemplifying on a larger scale the the benefits of a give and take system.

The libraries are dedicated to the memory of Pete Chamberlain, who lived in Wilton before passing away last fall. His

The Little Free Library at Bishop Park. The libraries were decorated with help from community members. The WFPL hosted a paint day and volunteers were asked to leave a hand print.

enthusiasm for the project was what pushed Scott and her staff members to make it happen. Chamberlain's family members attended the opening day of the libraries, helping to fill them with books for local readers.

"Everybody kept saying how perfectly they represented Pete. I am convinced that he was constantly doing stuff for the community, even though we couldn't see it all the time. Just like these libraries," Scott said.

Chamberlain supported the Wilton Free Public Library in a number of ways, volunteering hundreds of hours of his time helping out. With hardly a year under her belt, Scott seems to be following the same path of dedication to the community hub.

"I feel very invested in this library. High quality service is hugely important to me- knowing my audience and being there for them," Scott said.

She went on to talk about the important role that libraries play in communities- and vice versa.

"If you don't have the community support, programs like the Little Free Libraries won't happen. So many studies show that a community thrives when the library thrives," she said.

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12 Responses »

  1. The best idea I have seen in ages. We have far too many non readers running our government and lives.

  2. Jenn Scott is doing some great things in the library - really revitalizing the community. The whole staff is always great when I go in or see them in Wilton. Keep up the good work.

  3. What a wonderful idea and a fitting tribute to a great man whom we all miss so dearly.

  4. Great work Jen Scott and the Wilton staff!

  5. Way to go, Jen, & Wilton Library Staff! Fantastic idea and terrific that Jen implemented the Little Free Libraries
    in the Wilton area. Hats -Off to Warren Scott for designing and constructing the unique & charming Little Library Boxes and the Volunteers that painted & decorated the boxes!

  6. Great tribute to Peter. Peter gave his all to the library. Can't wait to take the grand-children by.

  7. Wonderful idea and a fitting tribute to Pete's memory.
    Thank you

  8. Delighted to see this. I hope people will take advantage of the chance to discover (or rediscover) the joy of reading.

  9. What a wonderful way to get books out there to readers and what an appropriate tribute to Peter who loved books so much,

  10. I saw this over the weekend while my grandsons were visiting. It was awesome and they enjoyed a picnic lunch and story time with GPa!! Thank you so much for being part of a special day!

  11. I saw these a couple months ago in MA, and thought why don't we have these in ME!? I am so glad to see them. The few I saw in MA were, bring a book, leave a book (if you could), I wonder if these have the same set up? They also had a small notebook and pencil attached to a string, so you could leave a note as to where you were from. Love this!

  12. So awesome Jen and so fun. Love them!