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Little Free Library blossoms in Watsonville neighborhood

Posted: Thursday, Jan 2nd, 2014

This Little Free Library, at 52 Monterey Vista Drive (behind the Target store), has become a neighborhood anchor thanks to the efforts of Diane and Jason Hall. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — The concept is simple. Anyone is free to take a book as long as you leave a book — that’s it.

So far the idea has blossomed in Watsonville at 52 Monterey Vista Drive where, for about eight months, the colorful wood library, with the appearance of a dollhouse, has been a neighborhood success story.

The library was the brainchild of Diane and Jason Hall who installed it in front of their home. According to a neighbor, Elyse Destout, Diane ran into some literature about the growing trend of Little Free Libraries, that are now in all 50 states and 40 countries. Her persistence led to a neighborhood woodworker, Scott Morgan, who, after hearing Diane’s description of such a thing, produced a homemade little library in a day. The library features a wood-framed glass door with a brass handle and a composite shingle roof.

“From there it just took off,” Destout said. “We see people using the library every day. It has helped pull our neighborhood together because people are getting to know one another by visiting the library. People are even coming in from the other side of Watsonville to exchange books. It’s so simple. Some of the older folks around here just love it.”

A small sign on the library reads, “Take a Book. Return a Book.” On the website www.freelittlelibrary.org some of the libraries word it, “Take a book. Leave a book.”

The idea of the Little Free Library was spawned in Hudson, Wis., where Todd Bol installed a wooden container designed after a schoolhouse on his lawn on a wood post as a tribute to his mother, who was a teacher and a book lover. The concept soon spread rapidly.

Destout said the Halls’ library is the only one in Watsonville.

“Diane’s challenge,” Destout said, “is to get someone else to start a second Little Free Library in Watsonville in their own neighborhood.”

Because of the success of the Halls’ library, they were recently awarded a “Little Library Distinction Award.”

Destout said that the library has endured vandalism. The Hall’s had mounted a small good luck charm on the library. After someone swiped the charm a sign was posted on the library, a simple request to return the charm, which was installed for the well being of the library.

The charm was returned. Take a charm. Return a charm.

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