ARCHBALD — At first glance, the blue house with flowers and butterflies painted on its sides, wood roof and glass door resembles a birdhouse.
Inside, however, are donated books, free for the taking 24/7.
The borough’s first Little Free Library, next to the gazebo in High School Plaza at Archbald Memorial Park, is the latest in a growing trend throughout Lackawanna County. Covington Twp. will install one this month, at a location yet to be determined. There is one in Dickson City and four in Scranton, including Connors Park in Scranton which has housed its Little Free Library — a blue, Tardis-style box similar to the time machine/spacecraft from the British “Doctor Who” science-fiction television series — since 2016.
Thousands of Little Free Libraries are registered in communities worldwide and can be found on the nonprofit organization’s website, littlefreelibrary.org.
People can take any book they want, but unlike traditional libraries, they never have to bring it back and don’t need a library card. However, they are encouraged to bring other books to the Little Free Library to share with the rest of the community. Little Free Library’s slogan is “Take a book, share a book.”
The Little Free Libraries in Archbald and Covington came to be after two Northeastern Pennsylvania Reading Association board members noticed them in other communities.
Anne Mary Doyle and Rachel Dwyer brought their idea to the board and began raising money to build the Little Free Libraries. The women went to the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County and asked for the carpentry department’s help. Instructor Shane Malicky and his student Camryn Kuchak built the two libraries in about three weeks.
“It’s great because you can have a book everywhere you go,” Dwyer said.
Doyle will maintain the Archbald library while Dwyer will be the steward of the Covington one. Both will make sure each library is filled with books and well-maintained.
The location of Archbald’s Little Free Library makes it easy for people to just sit down and read, Doyle said. Not only has she seen people take and donate books but someone even left a puzzle in the library.
“There’s always something in there for everyone,” she said.
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