by Dennis Dalman
Sartell now has a new library.
Well, in a way it does.
It’s called the “Little Free Library.” It was constructed by Jessica Wallin of Glenville, the daughter of Sartell resident Cheri Sletten. Glenville based her construction design on a little country church by a cemetery near Starbuck where her grandparents –Cheri’s parents – are buried.
The Little Free Library is “little,” indeed. It sits on a post in the Sletten family yard and holds only about 30 books. But that’s just fine with those who use it.
“The idea is kind of like a neighborhood book exchange,” Sletten said. “I live on a nice, quiet street in Heritage Place. People like to take leisurely walks here, sometimes with their little dogs. I thought it would be fun to let people have access to books through my Little Free Library.”
Sletten got the idea from a story she read last fall in the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. She did a bit of research and decided to start her own.
The first Little Free Library was installed in Madison, Wis. In just a few years, the Little Free Library concept has grown, and there are now thousands of them throughout the United States and some in other countries, including some areas where books are a precious rarity.
At Little Free Libraries, anyone can open the “door” to the library and take a book. They can also leave books there for others to read.
“When I first read about a Little Free Library, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to do that. It’s right up my alley,’ “ said Sletten, who is an avid reader. “It’s also a good way to ‘pay it forward,’ I figured.”
A neighbor of Slettens also loved the idea, and she began to bring books to the little library after she’d read them for her book club.
And it’s not just people who enjoy the little library. It’s birds, too. They like to perch on it, most likely mistaking it for a bird house – a very literate bird house.
Her little library is just one way Sletten can share her love of books with others.
“So many people don’t read books anymore,” she said. “Oh, sure, some read books electronically, and that’s fine. I’ve done so myself. But there’s nothing better than a real book to hold in your hands. I love the feel of a real book.”
Sletten enjoys reading virtually anything, including lots of young adult books, but her favorites are the immortal classics – the kind written by the likes of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.