(Plain Press, July 2016) Children in the neighborhood by Baltic Children’s Park will now be able to have a nearby source of books to read. A new Little Free Library was dedicated in the park at W. 108th and Baltic at a ceremony on Saturday June 4th. The park is just west of Louisa May Alcott Elementary School on Baltic Avenue. State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-13) was on hand to join neighborhood residents in the dedication ceremony.
Cudell Improvement Executive Director Anita Brindza talked about the importance of having a source of books in the neighborhood for children with the nearest public libraries being a good distance away at W. 80th and Detroit Avenue and W. 116th and Lorain Avenue. Brindza introduced the designer and creator of the Little Free Library, Greg Bucur, whom she said responded to a request for a volunteer to build the Little Free Library.
Bucar said he grew up in the neighborhood and used to pass the area where the park is now on his way to St. Rose Elementary School and later on his route to catch the bus to St. Edward High School. In creating the Little Free Library, Bucar said he used an old kitchen cabinet as a base. The cabinet is mounted on a post with a shingle roof. When one looks at the Little Free Library from the rear, he said it is designed to look like the new Regional Transit Authority bus stops on Clifton Boulevard.
Bucar, who attended the event with his six-year-old granddaughter, Chloe Lisiewski, thanked Cleveland Lumber, Home Depot and the Habitat for Humanity Restore for their contributions of materials for the Little Free Library. Bucar, noted he also used parts from his daughter’s screen door. He said he also registered the Little Free Library and received a charter number and sign from the international Little Free Library organization, so the library now appears on the world map of Little Free Libraries.
Brindza also introduced neighborhood resident Ann Rowlett, who she said is volunteering to keep the new Little Free Library stocked with books. Rowlett says she works in Midtown near the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank which supplies books for little free libraries. Rowlett said the library will combine books from the book bank with books donated by neighborhood residents to keep the library stocked.
Rowlett took one of the books from the Little Free Library and began to read to the three children present at the dedication ceremony – Waleed Albelushi, age 8, Tamin Albelushi, age 2, and Chloe Lisiewski, age 6. Rowlett hopes to hold future story hours at the park. Brindza said Cudell Improvement will help to get the word out when the story hours are scheduled.