SOUTHINGTON â€“ Mary Sargentâ€™s Little Free Library offers people the opportunity to pick up and drop off books in an effort to promote literacy.
The Little Free Library, which resembles a large mailbox built by artist Cheryl Fasulo to look like Snoopyâ€™s dog house from Peanuts, is located on the Linear Trail near the dog park on Mill Street. The grand opening was held last Saturday and was dedicated to Sargentâ€™s late parents and avid readers James and Vivian Counihan, whose pictures are kept in a locket. Sargent participated in a ribbon cutting with Casey Morley, Michael Fasulo and Town Councilors Victoria Traino and Dawn Miceli. People who stop by are invited to use it to â€śtake a book and leave a book.â€ť
Sargent built the Little Free Library thanks to a Gleason Grant from the Bright Horizons Foundation For Children, an organization dedicated to providing shelters for children who have been removed from abusive households.
â€śI set up my first Little Free Library on Mount Vernon Road near Lincoln College,â€ť she said. â€śThis trend began in Wisconsin, where my sister lived. She mentioned it to me and I thought it would make for a great project. Being a teacher at the ESPN Kids Center, I have a passion for promoting literacy for children and reading. This, I thought, would be a fine way to promote it while also raising awareness about the Foundation and the work that they do for children in crisis situations.â€ť
One of the guests at the grand opening of the library was be Casey Marley, author of â€śClimbing Outâ€ť, a book about how she survived her own domestic abuse situation. Another guest, Butch Paradis, donated fitness books to the library.
The book, â€śLove, Animals & Miraclesâ€ť by Bernie Siegel, was chosen as the first book donated to the library due to Sargentâ€™s love of animals. The side of the library features silhouettes of Sargentâ€™s deceased dog Gracie Sargent and artist Cheryl Fasuloâ€™s deceased dog Fredo Fasulo. The location of the Little Free Library was chosen due to its proximity to the dog park and because it will be the first Little Free Library on the Linear Trail and Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
â€śThe support from the community has been amazing,â€ť said Sargent. â€śI donâ€™t care what anybody says about social media, people have been very supportive whenever this has come up on Southington talks.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.