March 21, 2021 (One year since I embarked on this “blogxperiment” — what a ride it’s been.)
Ironically, the move (see last post) that I hoped would lift me out of my winter loneliness was temporarily halted by an icestorm. I know, I know: that’s to be expected in March. All is well now from where I stand on this second day of spring.
In moving to my new community, I’m leaving behind a small volunteer project. A few months into last year’s lockdown, I decided to become the unofficial steward of a Little Free Library two blocks from my apartment. Several factors contributed to this. I wanted to help others, yes, but I was also walking by the place at least twice a day and feeling offended by the poorly curated selection.
In all the places I’ve lived, anyway, uncared-for Little Free Libraries get so stuffed full that they either won’t open or won’t close. Instead of using them to share books that others might want, many of my fellow citizens use them to get rid of what no one wants. Tragedy of the commons, indeed.
Most of my volunteer duties involve some form of reshuffling. I set upright books that were shoved in at odd angles; I group genres together. I monitor the Library so that when someone gets into a fit of cleaning and drops off a houseful of junky books, I know within a day or two. While I never throw books away, I have given them to thrift stores when one genre became too dominant. I’ve also added my fair share to the Library’s circulation.
The books inside are mostly what you’d expect. But this Library has the distinction of standing next to a building dedicated to the free exchange of ideas. Occasionally, some real gems show up. Someone else must be watching the place too, because those aren’t around for long.
I think of this work as going totally unnoticed. But I do wonder if anyone quarantined at home has seen me meddling in the Library over the past year. I also wonder if anyone will take up the mantle and care for a piece of the community after I leave. It bears noting that this town is lovely and filled with lovely people. I wasn’t trying to escape it by moving away — I’ve simply moved to a place that’s better for me.
Let me know by email, text, or carrier chickadee if you want my new address. May you get to visit the places that inspire you this week.