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Posted: August 16, 2012 9:05 p.m.

Porterdale sets up small, free libraries

Citizens in Porterdale may notice little decorated boxes popping up around the city. They're called Little Free Libraries. It's all a part of an effort to bring more literacy opportunities to the community.

Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman said she researched an organization called Little Free Library online after reading an article about a community in Atlanta building book houses. She said the organization was founded in Wisconsin by two men who built book houses in order to spread libraries to communities that didn't have public libraries.

Chapman said after learning more about the group, she immediately thought it would be a good idea for the city of Porterdale because it would promote reading and the arts in the city. She said she began asking people in the community for their help with creating the book houses in March.

"I just went around to people I knew who built stuff and said how about building me one of these," she said. "I asked some of my artist friends if they would paint them. We have talked several times about pieces of art and so I thought this was a wonderful combination."

Chapman said she would like to put up at least six little libraries throughout the city. She said so far, four have been built and three of the book houses have been placed around Porterdale. When asked why the program was important to the city, Chapman said she had a passion in creating reading resources for children in the community.

"I think this project is important to Porterdale for several reasons. Porterdale has sort of been a forgotten place in the big picture. A lot of good things are happening here and in the process of all of this, we still have a lot of poverty here because we have a tremendous amount of rental property," she said. "We just have a lot of children here who don't have the same advantages of what some people may have if they lived in a different place, she said.

"We really need them. I had opened a library in the railroad depot because I felt that there were a lot of children whose parents were not able to get them to the library."

Chapman said people in the community can stock the little free libraries with books. She said the goal is for people to take a book and then leave a book for someone else to read.

She said anyone can come borrow and donate books.

"My main goal was to put these in our playgrounds, but I want to have them strategically placed around Porterdale so that everybody is in easy walking distance."

Chapman said when all the little free libraries are in place, she would like to create a map to show where they are all located. She said this would give people visiting Porterdale the opportunity to go on a mini art tour.

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