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Girl Scouts prepare to build a free book exchange kiosk

June 20, 2019
BERLIN — At the June 10 City Council work session, Wednesday Belanger presented a proposal for the Girl Scouts to install a free library kiosk on public property in Berlin. The proposed project is reminiscent of the Little Free Library, a non-profit organization dedicated to building community by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.

The concept behind free community book kiosks is simple - "take a book, return a book." Anyone wanting to participate is welcome to drop off or pick up a book at their leisure. Kiosks have been created in a variety of shapes and sizes around the world but the most common version is a small wooden box of books.

Although there are several such boxes around the state, there are none in the Berlin area at this time. The nearest mapped locations show free book stations in Littleton and Franconia. It is estimated that there are currently over 80,000 registered Little Free Library book-sharing boxes in 91 countries around the world.

According to work session minutes, the proposed book exchange will have "a cool design and promote recycling books." The Girl Scout and Brownie Troops intend to take full responsibility for the construction, installation and maintenance of the book exchange. They also plan to install flowers at the base of the kiosk.

Meeting minutes indicate that Mayor Grenier requested that the troop work with Rec Department program director Terry Letarte to find the most appropriate location for their project. Councilor Remillard moved to authorize the project and Councilor Higbee seconded.

The partnership between the Little Free Library organization and the Girl Scouts of America has increased dramatically in recent years. Troops all over the country have installed more than five hundred free library stations. In 2017, the Little Free Library group presented a recognition award to the Girl Scouts of America for being the leading civic youth group to support reading and access to books.

While there is a registration fee of $40 to be chartered and listed on the international "Little Free Library" network, it has not been determined if this will happen with the Berlin project.

Varney Smith
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