Building and establishing the "Weirs Beach Library," a little library that contains about 30 books, was easier said than done for Beca Bayken, who spearheaded the effort. She's pleased that it's now up and making books available for residents and visitors of The Weirs. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)
Bookworm installs self-service ‘library in a box’ at The Weirs
By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A self-described "book worm," 26-year-old Laconia native Beca Bayken has always enjoyed the ability to find a new volume to dive into. She first lived in the city's center, later moved to the Lakeport area, and for the past few years has lived in The Weirs.
"When I lived in Laconia and Lakeport, Laconia has that castle-like library, and Lakeport has that reading room," said Bayken. But when she moved to The Weirs, she found that there wasn't a library or even a book store.
This winter, Bayken decided to do something to make books available for residents and visitors of The Weirs. Her idea was to construct a "little library," a small box, something a little larger than a birdhouse or mailbox, that would be mounted in a public place and which would be filled with books for the taking. Beyond their size, little libraries are distinct from their conventional cousins because users don't need a library card, nor do they check out books – they just take them, and return them when they're done with them. Bayken suggested that users could bring a book from their own collection to leave at the library in place of the one that they've removed.
Though it's little, it was no small task to bring The Weirs Beach Library, which is mounted near the entrance to the Weirs Community Center, to her community. Bayken, whose first chapter book was "Harry Potter," said she brought her idea to Amy Lovisek at Laconia Parks and Recreation in late winter, and was given the green light.
"They all loved the idea," said Bayken. Getting the go-ahead was the easy part, it turned out. Then she had to figure out where she could locate the library, and, because she had to install a post, she had to arrange for Dig Safe to clear the location. A neighbor volunteered material used for the post. And then came the construction of the library itself.
"I needed a lot of help," she said. Fortunately, she was able to enlist her father, who fashioned the library out of a kitchen cabinet Bayken scored on Craigslist. After weatherizing the cabinet, he built a facade using cedar shakes left over from a bobhouse he built.
Then came the need to stock the shelves. The library can fit 30 books, and Bayken, who is currently reading Stephen King's "11/22/63," was able to fill it with books from her own collection as well as those from her co-workers at Titeflex Aerospace. The library officially opened a couple of weeks ago, and although there are no check-out records to keep track of activity, she knows people are using it because she sees the titles change as people drop off a book when they take one out.
"I'm glad it's done, I'm happy to see it up. It was a lot more involved for a little project than I thought," she said.
She has set up a facebook page, www.facebook.com/weirsbeachlibrary, for users to talk about books that they have read.
For Bayken, immersing herself in a book is a chance to relax and to escape into another reality. The little library is a chance to share that love with her Weirs neighbors, people coming to spend a few hours at the beach, or commuters heading home after work.
"Go crazy, keep reading," urged Bayken.
- Written by Adam Drapcho
- Category: Local News
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