Having set up Lee’s Little Lending Library in front of her home on Diamond and Dawes streets, Fowler Schwimmer said of her motivation, “We’re being nice to the neighborhood. It brings a nice energy into the community and makes it more of a neighborhood where people know each other, wave and say hello.”
Best of all, Fowler Schwimmer noted her little lending library, entirely free and located four blocks from the beach, is open “24/7.”
The yoga instructor-turned-librarian loves her community, as attested to by the “I love PB” mosaic she created on her house. Now, she has a people’s library to complement it.
Fowler Schwimmer felt it was important to present a handy, wholesome, free recreational alternative for people of all ages.
Fowler Schwimmer noted there are enough “bars, tattoo parlors and wild, crazy running around” to go around in the beach community.
So, in her own small way, she’s making her personal contribution toward making the beach community a little calmer and more laid back.
Lee’s Little Lending Library is a global trend Fowler Schwimmer has adopted and made her own.
“There is an international movement afoot, and that movement is called the Little Free Library, which is a trademarked brand,” she said. “You can go on that website and register your own Little Free Library. It costs $40.”
Adding, however, that she “didn’t go that route,” Fowler Schwimmer nonetheless said she was exposed to the personal library concept on the Internet.
“I thought, ‘What a delightful thing to just give free books introducing them into the neighborhood,’” she said. She added there is no contract — and few terms — associated with her little lending library.
“If you want to borrow a book and return it, I trust you,” Fowler Schwimmer said. “Or take one of mine, and give me one of yours.”
Noting “reading is an option,” the independent librarian is hopeful “parents will come by with their kids” and take full advantage of her book repository.
The library’s design, though, was admittedly a bit of a challenge.
“I’m not a mechanic; I’m not a carpenter,” Fowler Schwimmer admitted. “My husband and a friend designed it. We all kind of pitched in.”
Lee’s Little Lending Library has been open about six weeks and thus far has gotten rave reviews. People leave comments inside on Post-its furnished just for that purpose.
“People say, ‘What a great idea this is, and thank you very much,’” with some taking books while promising to “leave some books later,” Fowler Schwimmer said.
The newly minted little librarian said she’s concerned about stocking her shelves with a good cross-section of literary choices.
“I don’t want it to be all romance novels,” she said. “I want some recent books, some fiction, good-quality stuff.”
Since families are headed to the beach, Fowler Schwimmer also wants to ensure she has kids picture books as well as classics like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.
There’s also a doggie bowl in front of the Lee’s Little Lending Library for four-legged browsers.
“It’s hard to have too much reading,” concluded Fowler Schwimmer. “It’s a great thing to encourage. When you make something convenient and easy to use, what goes around comes around.”
Of her reward for starting her own private, free community lending library, Fowler Schwimmer said, “I get paid for doing this in smiles.”