BERLIN – Seven-year-old Ellie Zollinger was running around a playground in Salisbury when she screeched to a halt. She was enthralled by what she’d stumbled across — a Little Free Library.
“I ran to my mom to tell her what I found,” she said.
Her mother, Rose Zollinger, said she wasn’t even surprised the Little Free Library, a wooden, house-shaped container housing books, was the highlight of the day for her daughter.
“She was so excited,” Zollinger said. “She’s pretty much the only kid who goes to a playground and finds a library.”
The Little Free Library Ellie Zollinger discovered at Ben’s Red Swings in Salisbury had such an impact on her that she now wants to build her own. On Sept. 14, she received permission from the Berlin Town Council to erect a Little Free Library in Henry Park.
“It’s a great idea,” Councilman Troy Purnell said.
Zollinger and her mother explained that Little Free Library was an international organization that promoted literacy through a system of free book exchanges. They’re set up by volunteers all over the world, and once the little house-shaped libraries are in place, are registered at www.littlefreelibrary.org.
The young Zollinger, who is a second grader at Buckingham Elementary School, said she would be responsible for maintaining the little library, ensuring it was filled with books and making sure it was in good condition, until she graduated from high school. At that point she’d pass the task on to another interested party.
“I would maintain it and make sure there are always books,” she said, adding that she would initially fill the box with her own books but hoped that others would donate books as well.
She said she chose Henry Park as the location for the little library for because children in that neighborhood were further from the local library than those downtown.
“I’d like to put it in Henry Park because kids there don’t have as much access to the library,” she said.
Rose Zollinger said a family friend with experience in carpentry would be building the library, which will be a small, wooden, house shaped container.
“The biggest thing is to make sure it’s airtight and watertight,” she said, adding that her daughter would be checking on the library at least once a week.
She said she expected the library to be built and installed within the next 30 days.
Mayor Gee Williams praised the project and said he looked forward to Zollinger working with the town.
“We’re very grateful and we’re very proud,” he said.
He added that if the project was finished within the next month, it could be officially introduced to residents during the dedication of the new Dr. William E. Henry monument on Oct. 24.
For information on submitted books to donate, email Rose Zollinger at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Berlin Visitors Center is also accepting donations.