SRU’s Stone House Center for Public Humanities and the Slippery Rock Community Library partnered recently to create a little free library, located right outside the North Country Brewing Company on Main St.
A little free library allows for people to donate and pick up books at the designated site.
Aaron Cowan, history professor and co-director of the Stone House Center, said the group was formed to use the humanities, such as literature, philosophy, art history, for the public good. The group tries to think of ways to reach people who don’t have the opportunity to learn and study the aforementioned subjects. Cowan said the SR Community Library has done children’s reading programs at the Stone House, which is owned by the university and used by the local community.
“We’ve collaborated on things, helped publicize one another’s events,” Cowan said. “We were thinking about the little free library as a possibility.”
Cowan said one of the things that makes the free libraries successful was making sure the books are ones that people want to read, and the library is able to fulfill that role, having a surplus of books and limited space to hold them.
“It’s [the free library] is one of these things that’s small scale,” Cowan said. “It doesn’t cost a lot, you don’t have to maintain it, it doesn’t have ongoing costs, but it’s a really direct way to put books in people’s hands for free. It seemed like something that was low cost but could have a pretty significant impact and help add another asset to the community.”
Cowan said he thinks people are enthusiastic and has walked past the library before and has seen that it needs to be restocked. The Slippery Rock Community Library will also have a booth at VillageFest, giving out bookmarks and other materials to promote the free library.
“I think people are enthusiastic,” Cowan said. “We’re hoping the community gets into it, that they contribute books, that they go check it out and see what they can find there. It seems people are benefiting from it and taking some of the books and that’s what we want.”