On Feb. 9, Erwin United Methodist Church dedicated the community’s first “Little Free Library.” It was installed recently near the public walking trail behind the church.
The “Little Free Library” was envisioned and created by seventh grade confirmation student, Jack Walker, and his adult mentor, the Rev. Tim Davison, a retired US Army chaplain, as their “Pay It Forward” mission project. Jack has a passion for reading and wanted to help make books more readily available to others who enjoy reading.
Readers of all ages are encouraged to freely give and take books from the small enclosure that serves as the library. Many of the libraries are in the shape of churches, schools and landmarks. However, Jack decided to make his library in the shape of a small tobacco barn as a tribute to the abundance of such barns found in farming communities throughout this part of the state, where as many as half a million barns once dotted the North Carolina landscape back in the 1950s.
At the dedication service, Jack and Davison noted that what was originally stored in tobacco barns, was something that people would light up for the fleeting, momentary good they thought it would bring. Now Jack says his barn will be a library to hold books, which will “light up” minds and spark imaginations to see and do things that are good and that will last for a lifetime.
Rev. Don Mitchell, Erwin UMC’s pastor, shared two of the first books to place in the Little Free Library. They were “My First Book about Jesus” and “Moses and the Bulrushes,” two children’s books donated by members of the congregation. Rev. Mitchell expressed his appreciation to both Jack and Davison for their creative work with their confirmation mission project. “We have nine gifted confirmation students at Erwin UMC this year. Each student is involved in his/her own ‘Pay It Forward’ project that will help share the light of Christ in our community and beyond. I am very proud of Jack and all his fellow confirmands.”
Jack’s “Little Free Library” is mounted by the newly renovated picnic shelter on the grounds of Erwin United Methodist Church located at 600 Denim Drive in Erwin. The library can be easily accessed by the church parking lot or from the nearby public walking trail. The community is invited to freely give and take books through this outreach ministry. For more information, contact the Erwin UMC Church Office at 910-897-8894.
The Little Free Library system is a global nonprofit book-sharing initiative that originated in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009 when Todd Bol created the first one as a tribute to his late mother, who loved reading and had been a career public school teacher. Since then, more than 97,000 “Little Free Libraries” have been established in over 91 countries. The newest little free library in Erwin is number 97,354.