Little Free Library in Wilbraham

Little Free Library in Wilbraham Honors Neighbors & Remembers Tornado

Little Free Libraries are a way of promoting literacy and exchanging reading material. However they quickly become more than that. They provide a neighborhood with a way to share common interests and a place for ideas and people to meet. (Photo credit: Steve Fratoni)

Well, it is little, and it is a library, and, yes, it is free… so it must be a Little Free Library.

The first Little Free Library appeared in Hudson, Wisconsin in 2009 and now they can be found in every state and at least thirty-two countries. This one on Pomeroy Street in Wilbraham,  Massachusetts is the creation of Steve Fratoni in honor of his former neighbors Ted and Jane Gebeau. Ted and Jane started living on Pomeroy Street in 1947 when it was still just a dirt road through a field of strawberries and asparagus. Ted was instrumental in the founding of the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham and Jane was a librarian at the Town’s Library for over thirty years. Both were forced to move away in 2012 for health reasons. This Little Free Library represents their continued service to the Town and to their neighbors.

On a broad scale these Little Free Libraries are a way of promoting literacy and exchanging reading material. However they quickly become more than that. They provide a neighborhood with a way to share common interests and a place for ideas and people to meet.

Another aspect of community is the use of recycled building materials for the project. This library uses plywood scraps from a neighbor’s kitchen remodeling, wood from tornado broken trees, and lengths of ripped-up invasive Bittersweet vines.

So how does it work? If you see a book inside that interests you, take it, read it, and enjoy it. When your done return it to this library, or pass it on to a friend, or place it in any other Little Free Library (see list below). If you own a book that you have finished and think that others would like to read add that to the Library, too. Even better, write a few notes to tell others what you liked about the book.

(Photo credit: Steve Fratoni)

As for what kind of books are in this Little Free Library, that you will have to find out for yourself. It is something that changes from day to day and maybe even minute to minute. Since this Library opened during National Poetry Month, its first patrons will find poetry books ranging from a picture book of hand rhymes for children to the complete poems of Emily Dickinson among other fiction and non-fiction titles.

So don’t be frighten by this Little Free Library on Pomeroy Street, after all it is not really a house swept up in a tornado. Plus it is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to everyone who walks by.

- Submitted by Steve Fratoni


Other Little Free Libraries in Western MA include:

  • Easthampton: Located on the Man Rail Trail, west of Union Street, built by Williston Northampton School & the Manhan Rail Trail. Bruce Simons is the Steward.
  • Northampton: In the front yard of 82 Washington Ave.  Marjorie Senechal is the Steward.
  • Pittsfield: At the Pemble Farm Stand located at 787 Pecks Road. Caitlin Pemble is the Steward.
  • Russell: Located at 6 Blandford Stage Road. Bruce Miller is the Steward.
  • Williamstown: Located in the front yard on 74 Linden Street. Justin Adkins is the Steward.

Add your Little Free Library to the map at www.littlefreelibrary.org.

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