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June 7, 2017

9-year-old establishes “Little Library” at Vint Hill

Contributed Photos
Molly Baker used her allowance and birthday funds to establish the free box exchange box in Cannon Park.
“I’ve always saved my money,” Molly says. “I knew I wanted to spend it on something but didn’t know what until I saw the library box. I knew then that this was it.”
A 9-year-old booklover’s desire to share her passion for reading has led to the first library box at Vint Hill.

The “Little Free Library Box” got installed recently at Cannon Park, across the street from the Piedmont Dogs park.

The idea and its execution came from Molly Baker, who frequents Vint Hill’s parks. The box operates as a book exchange. One simply donates a book to the box and takes another. By design, new books will continue to circulate through the collection.

Inspired by a TV program that featured the free “library box” concept, Molly and her parents researched and found the non-profit organization, “Little Free Library,” which promotes access to books through community connections. The family settled on a blue, two-shelf model designed to withstand weather.

Registered in Molly’s name, the box appears in the Little Free Library database, which allows people to easily find the book exchanges. The local box features both kid- and adult-friendly literature.

The Baker family wanted to install the library box as a complement to the park that they already enjoy. Working with Vint Hill Village LLC President Ed Moore, they settled on Cannon Park, established in 2015 as Vint Hill’s first “pocket park,” as the box’s location.

“Cannon Park already has multiple levels of significance,” Mr. Moore said. “Not only is it the first of many pocket parks we’re envisioning for Vint Hill, it was established to commemorate both the location where the Japanese code was broken during World War II and for its ceremonious landmark of the retired Amy base cannon, which was shot each morning and evening with the raising and lowering of the flag.

“We planted trees and brought in benches for the community to enjoy, and now it will be greatly enhanced with the addition of the outdoor library box.”

Another Little Free Library stands nearby on Starcrest Drive in the Grapewood neighborhood.

Molly used her savings, including allowance money and birthday funds, to purchase the box. She also donated books to begin the Vint Hill collection.

“I’ve always saved my money,” Molly explained. “I knew I wanted to spend it on something but didn’t know what until I saw the library box. I knew then that this was it.”

Molly also participates in the National American Miss Pageant. In 2014, she won Little Miss Fauquier and, in 2016, East Coast USA Little Miss Virginia. While her pageantry involvement has encouraged Molly to focus on community service, her parents say she’s always had a spirit for charity and giving. Three years ago, Molly responded to a donation request from her vacation Bible school by emptying her piggy bank and bringing the money to school.

Molly’s vision to enrich her community through reading doesn’t end with the first library box installation. She has created a Go Fund Me account, seeking to raise $1,000 for two more boxes that would grow the community-centric cause. She hopes to inspire her neighbors and community to embrace the same love of reading that she has.

Little Free Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Most Little Free Libraries are placed in front yards, parks, gardens and easily accessible locations. 

There are more than 50,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 70 countries.

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