The fourth Little Free Library is located downtown

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The fourth Little Free Library is located downtown and is for adults too.

Located at the small park across from the Griffin Regional Welcome Center on North Hill Street, the library will have books for adults. The Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting for the library Friday afternoon.

Brett Bell, organizer of the literacy project, promised to put up one Little Free Library a month this year, and has done so with one each month, the first of the Little Free Libraries at Fairmont Homes outside CHARMS, the second at the Oaks at Park Pointe, the third last month at Third Ward Park, and now this one downtown.

The theme of the Little Free Libraries is take a book, leave a book, Bell said, and promoting literacy.

“If children know how to read, graduation rates go up and crime goes down,” Bell said.

“There’s also lots of avenues for participation,” for the community, he said.

This one was a project of members of the current Leadership Griffin-Spalding class.

Lacey Thomas Barnes heard about the Little Free Libraries from Bell, who’s active in the chamber, the Spalding Collaborative and the Rotary Club of Griffin. Barnes, Mellanie Greer, Laura Beaber, Steven Jones, Brock Morris and Brittany Stikes worked on this project as part of their leadership class.

Barnes contacted Sam Sisavath for materials for the Little Free Library, “but thank God he offered to build it,” she said.

Sisavath thanked them for the opportunity to do this and said he will be building many more of them, including a three-box one for the Fairmont Community Center, with a “Three Little Pigs” theme.

“One will be of straw, one of sticks and one of brick,” Bell said.

Bell has plans for more libraries at various locations around town and around the county. He’s also had donations from local businesses and organizations to provide the boxes including Southern Crescent Technical College, Sisavath Remodeling, Haisten McCullough Funeral Home and Newton Crouch, with the boxes being decorated by local schools including Rock Springs Christian Academy and art students at Spalding High School.

Other sites include AMBUCS Park, City Park, Raymond Head Park near Anne Street Elementary School, Wyomia Tyus Olympic Park, Airport Road Park, the Griffin Housing Authority’s Nine Oaks property, Orchard Hill Park, South Hampton Mobile Home Park, and Solomon Park, once it is built.

Bell said the Flint River Regional Library is helping with the Little Free Libraries.

“It’s not a duel, we’re all working in this together.” Bell said at Thursday’s EPI meeting.

Donations of books are being accepted, with First National Bank accepting them during business hours, and having plans for a drive-up drop box. WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital employees are having an internal book drive as well, Bell said, with a drop box decorated by students at Rock Springs.

Kathleen Smith from WellStar Spalding Regional said there will be a permanent drop box located outside the Women’s Center, at the hospital. Andrea Dunson from First National Bank got a commitment from bank President Chuck Copeland, to make the donation and storage of books part of the bank’s marketing department, “so books will continue to get to the Little Free Libraries long after we’re gone.”

Georgia Power, Bell said Thursday, has donated $1,000 for the Little Free Libraries program, and a Georgia Power box will be located at the Healthy Life Community Garden, Bell said. The Rotary Club of Griffin and Vulcan Materials, he said Thursday, each have donated $500.

Bell also dispelled rumors about a box being vandalized. One box was damaged from use, Bell said, outside CHARMS, where the plexiglass door came off. It was repaired and back in service the same day.

“There’s a difference between vandalism and damage from use,” Bell emphasized both Thursday and Friday, “and there’s no vandalism taking place in any of the boxes, thus far. And I’ve done my part to nip it in the bud,” he said of the rumors.

“Damage means use,” he said, “and we want these to be used.”

Ray Lightner, Griffin Daily News April 9,2017