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Southeast Marble Little Free Library creator Jessica Coates, is a doer of projects, and a maker of things. When she started seeing miniature “free libraries” on Pinterest and around town, she decided to make one herself. “I think we have a great neighborhood,” said Coates, “and I just thought it would be a really good addition and would provide the children and adults in our neighborhood with a place to drop and pick up books, to recycle and reuse them.”
The dream took a while to become a reality as Coates juggled her job with the State of Michigan and a growing family. Last November, her sister found a chest at an estate sale that was just the right size to hold the books, but the box sat in a basement until well after the birth of Coates’ second child in January.
Next Coates enlisted the aid of her father Rod Cluley, of Grand Blanc who not only had leftover shingles and siding but the necessary building skills. By summer Coates and Cluley “finally” began work on the small structure which is now perched in front of Coates’ house, and painted to match.
Although she had originally envisioned a library only for children, Coates found that the finished project had room for an adult section, as well. “People can stop by and donate a book or take a book, or both” says Coates, who adds that her daughter has seen neighbors borrowing and leaving books. The little house also attracts curious dog walkers and runners on a regular basis.
The Southeast Marble Little Free Library is open to everyone in the East Lansing community, although its size limits the number of donations that can be accepted and offered to borrowers. Coates suggests that community members make small donations of their favorites, and take larger donations the East Lansing Public Library on Abbott Road.
Photo credit: Jessica Coates
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