Little libraries in Snake River make a big impression

By Greg Eichelberger
For the Journal

SNAKE RIVER – The concept is so disarmingly simple, it’s a wonder it wasn’t thought of many years ago. Little Free Libraries are sprouting up in our area, with four now operating in the community of Snake River, just west of Blackfoot.

In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back those same ones or even another book to share. For this community, it’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. The Little Free Library offers a way to share good things to read — favorite books from one’s childhood or books people would recommend to friends; books that teach, intrigue and engage. The Snake River School/Community Library has adopted this idea and will supply books as necessary and rotate them each week.

“All of us can help by keeping this collection stocked with good reading material,” said Snake River Library Director Lonnie Surerus. “If there is a book you want to read, then take it. If you return it great, if you don’t that’s OK, too. If you want to replace it with a different book, all the better.”

Surerus added that most of the tomes in the little libraries are donations, multiple copies or ones weeded from the main facility’s collection.

Because the community is asked to take ownership of and responsibility for the little libraries, reading can become a treasure hunt.

“Look inside and see who gave it; who else has read it,” Surerus said. “If you would like, write your name or a message about the book. That’s a fun idea, too.”

Through the little libraries concept, neighbors, friends, and people we don’t even know yet become community curators.

Building on the concept that the library belongs to everybody, anyone can use these venues – no library card required. The Little Free Libraries will be open year-round.

There are currently four Little Free Libraries in the Snake River area. They are located at the Moreland Post Office, Chad’s Place convenience store, the Highway 26 park and ride and Rockford Ranch and Supply.

They are built mainly of wood with a roof and a magnetic door which will allow use in inclement weather. Some might describe them as large birdhouses, but filled with books. Surerus’ husband, Dave, and Frank Tomazin built the four Snake River boxes.

“Quite a few people have commented on them,” Surerus said. “Many of them think that it’s the best thing since sliced bread. And we have also had different books to replace the one’s people have ‘checked out.’ That’s what we were aiming at.”

Surerus added that any book checked out of the main branch needs to be returned there and not at these little library locations. In addition, please report any problems to Snake River School/Community Library at 684-3063.

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