The Ashe County Public Library is expanding. And it’s doing it one “twig” at a time.
Slightly larger than a dollhouse, the locally-built “twigs” will house books instead of toys and will be formally called “Little Free Libraries.”
The Little Free Libraries will be called “twigs,” which is a wordplay on the county library not having branch locations.
“Folks don’t get here often or even have time to come into town and use this library,” Suzanne Moore, county librarian said. “If they come, they come after hours or they miss it or they don’t have transportation and weather’s a problem to for people.”
Twigs will not require a library cards. There are no return dates on the books and you can get a book at anytime.
“It’s a concept where you take one, because it’s free, you don’t need a library card, but it’s a swap,” Moore said. “Well it’s like a take-one, leave-one place, it’s a swap place. But if you don’t have one, it’s not a big deal – just take one.”
There are no concerns of theft at the buildings since the books are free. Each location will have a “steward” who will oversee the number of books inside as well as making sure the structure is stable.
“The locals close to that location will be the ones who own and stock the twigs,” Moore said.
With Ashe County being spread out and only having one library, the twigs bring a book exchange closer to those in the outer areas.
“I think it’s great for folks that don’t have access to books,” Moore said. “It encourages reading. It’s exciting to go out to little location where you open a tiny house and pick out a book.”
Planned locations for the twigs include Phipps General Store in Lansing, Todd Mercantile and Mabe’s Grocery in Laurel Springs.
Groups in the community are getting involved to help create the twigs. One “twig” is under construction by the Ashe County Home Builders Association and is going to be revealed during “Pickin’ in the Park” on Aug. 27.
“I think it’s a great program and think it will do very good for the county, especially in the outlying areas that don’t have good access to the library,” Tammie Pruitt-Coffey, of the Ashe County Home Builders Association said. “Especially in the winter months.”
Moore said she wants to get other organizations in the county involved, making the twigs a community-wide project.
“It is really going to be a fun project for everybody,” Moore said. “When you go driving in the middle of nowhere and see a Little Free Library and you need a good book, (you) just stop and get one.”
There are 17 Little Free Libraries located in North Carolina, the closest one being in Greensboro.
Moore said the libraries will hopefully expand into Wilkes and Watauga counties, also part of the Appalachian Regional Library System.
“We’re all in the same regional library system,” she said. “We just want to spread it out and keep it going.”
The twigs will provide all families in Ashe County better access to books and magazines.
“Some people don’t have books in their house,” Moore said. “This is giving them an opportunity to have a book.”