By Julie Muhlstein Herald Writer
EVERETT — Joseph Cain approached the new structure, which looks like a doll house perched atop a wooden post. He opened the door and peeked inside.
He took a moment to find a book he wanted. Among his choices were a copy of the The New Testament, a James Patterson thriller titled “Violets Are Blue,” a stack of magazines, Dr. Seuss picture books, and a collection of Illustrated Classics including “Robin Hood,” “Oliver Twist” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”
He picked a paperback about baseball from a shelf, then closed the little door and walked away.
Cain was at Everett’s Faith Lutheran Church Tuesday evening for a community dinner in the fellowship hall. The event was also a grand opening of sorts, an introduction of the church’s Little Free Library.
The book-filled structure, outside the church at Cady Road and Madison Street, is part of the grass-roots Little Free Library movement. That was started in 2009 as a nonprofit effort in Wisconsin, with an aim to promote reading and recycling and to bring neighbors together.
“Our church had been talking about things we could do for the community,” said Roxana Boroujerdi, a church member who pushed for construction of the book box. Boroujerdi had read a 2012 Herald article about a north Everett woman whose little library was created to share books and build community.
Steve Balas, owner of the Waterfront Coffee Company on Main Street in Edmonds, built Washington’s first Little Free Library outside his shop. The organization’s website includes a place to put the little libraries on a map and register for an “Official Little Free Library Charter Number.” Balas said his little library was the 858th one created.
He said his wife Vickie was recently contacted by Boroujerdi, who was seeking information about building a little library outside the Everett church. He helped by building the box for the church, providing the post and working on installation.
Last Sunday, Balas was at the Everett church for a painting party. Children helped decorate the little library.
“I wanted the kids in our neighborhood to take ownership of the library,” Boroujerdi said. She said about 60 people came out to Sunday’s party. Boroujerdi operates an ice cream truck that visits Everett parks, which she brought Sunday as part of the festivities.
Operating a Little Free Library is an act of faith. Used in the give-and-take way that’s intended, Boroujerdi said, “it takes care of itself. People can take a book anytime, and bring one.”
One goal of Little Free Library founders was to build 2,510 book boxes, the number of libraries built by industrialist Andrew Carnegie about a century ago. Little library builders have far surpassed that goal.
“The number on ours is 6,000-something,” Boroujerdi said.
Juanita Clifford is a program coordinator at the South Everett Neighborhood Center, a social service agency run by Lutheran Community Services Northwest.
“We want to spread the message that reading is important,” Clifford said. “If people are too busy to get to a library, kids in this neighborhood can come and get their own books.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.