Friday, August 30, 2013

The SACG Welcomes the Cutest Free Little Library for the Cutest Kids in Columbus

In addition to spreading the joy of gardening to the next generation, the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden has also attempted this year to educate and entertain the neighborhood kids when the Garden is not open.  Throughout the month of July, the SACG held a book drive among current and former gardeners, the Garden Manager’s niece and nephew, and others.  When we quickly ran out of books we were delighted to receive three boxes of free books from Half Price Books (which also donated books to Urban Connections).   After all, there is not a library within easy walking distance for the kids.

You may have noticed the kids hanging out in the trunk of the Garden Manager’s car from time to time.   That’s where the books are.  Or were.

Bexley accountant and wood worker extraordinaire Jim Zeier was persuaded with very little effort to build the SACG a Free Little Library to benefit the Stoddart Avenue neighborhood.  I was walking from Joe and Betty's to Doug & Suzy's and there was Jim working on building a closet organizer for his daughter.  I decided to grab the opportunity to ask him.  He asked for some dimensions or a picture to work from.  Little did he know that I had already printed plans from the Free Little Library website, printed a copy of our article about our book drive and threw in a copy of the Dispatch editorial for good measure.  Poor guy never stood a chance. 

Kossuth Street CG's Library
You may have seen these cute little homemade neighborhood libraries mentioned on the national news from time to time.  There are similar libraries in German Village and Clintonville.   We’ve included a picture of one from the Kossuth Street Community Garden that they installed last Fall.  (Michael Doody was pushing me to do likewise and you can see he succeeded).   And I've added a picture of the Clintonville library celebrating Switzerland's birthday.

Clintonville' Swiss Model #178
 I knew Jim had a great wood shop, but I had no idea how talented he was.  Since even before we broke ground in 2009, Jim has cut down our donated lumber into tomato and fence stakes.  However, I’ve recently learned that he also turns wood stumps into beautiful bowls and vases.  He has really been slumming it by helping the SACG out over the years.    

St. Jim
Jim donated most of the materials for our little library, but the cedar on the roof was donated by Trudeau Lumber (from wood left over after building raised beds for the kids at the SACG and at the Ohio Avenue Elementary School).  SACG Gardener Frank Carter supplied the post, dug the hole and installed the library today at the corner of Stoddart and Cherry.    I tried to fill it with children’s and gardening books, but I ran out!  We could really use some children’s dictionaries.

Take a book that interests you, then return the book when you’re finished so that someone else can read it, too.   Or leave a book that you’ve already read.  (Please do not add anything too racy that would make the Garden Manager’s grandmother blush in her grave). 

Wouldn’t it be great for Stoddart Avenue to be known for all of the brainy kids who live and play here?    Be a good example, and read a book while you’re sitting on your front porch.  You might enjoy it yourself.

PICK IT UP!  I also picked up the supplies today from Keep Columbus Beautiful for the next week’s litter pick up.  Remember, starting at 9:30 on Saturday, September 7, 2013 and for a little over an hour, we will be picking up litter in the Stoddart Avenue neighborhood.  I will bring some refreshments and hope that you will contribute to keeping the blood sugar up of our hardworking volunteers.

THEFTS.  Remember the picture of this beautiful cabbage from last week?  Well.  Someone broke down the fence down next to our front gate and stole this cabbage.  AND this miscreant also stole five bags of ripe tomatoes from Charlie’s plot.  AND stole a bunch of kale from my plot.  And who knows what else.  The nerve. 

Well, when I went over tonight to finish distributing neighborhood newsletters and to fill the new little library with books, a bunch of neighborhood kids descended upon me.   A few girls helped me distribute newsletters on Wednesday, but we have so many new neighbors that I ran out.  When I returned tonight to finish the street, more girls helped me.  Then about 10 kids helped water various plots and our yellowing peach trees.   Tyrese – who’s in the picture – donated all of his broccoli and many of his tomatoes to LSS’s food pantry.  Good kid.

Well, off to water my own house plants.

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