By Ignacio "Iggy" RubalcavaNovember 22, 2013
A new library is now open on Smith Barracks. You don't need a library card, there are no late fees, there is no librarian hovering ominously nearby ensuring that a book does not accidently fall into your coat pocket and it's open 24/7. It's a little bigger than a bread box and looks more like an upscale condo for birds than a library but the books in it are free for the taking, with the stipulation that you eventually return it or replace it with another book.
Take a book, return a book is a simple but effective concept that the Little Free Library is based on.
Conveniently located near the entrance to the community mail room, the Little Free Library is the brain child of Lorne Huxtable, a 12-year-old 7th grade student at Baumholder Middle High School.
Like the library's concept, Huxtable's motivation for the project is also a simple one. "Myself, I need to get better at reading, so I thought I'd just promote literacy throughout the whole community as well," said Huxtable.
Huxtable enlisted the aid of the U.S. and German communities to make his idea a reality. Construction and installation of the library was done by members of the USAG Baumholder Directorate of Public Works. Huxtable's mother, Michele, a teacher at Baumholder Middle School, rounded up the initial collection of books by soliciting donations from her friends and colleagues and one of her students painted the library.
Huxtable also received support from Lt. Col. Mike Sullivan, USAG Baumholder commander. "I think this is a great idea. I love the fact that I've seen people take books out and put another book back. In fact, I've got some books at the house that I'll bring down here once it gets a little bit empty," said Sullivan.
Although Huxtable came up with the idea of providing this service to the community, the Little Free Library is not a new idea. Little Free Libraries are located throughout the world. Baumholder's is the third one in Germany. Huxtable had to obtain permission to establish his Little Free Library. "It's registered online so we have permission to do this. If not, we could probably get sued because it's another man's idea," said Huxtable.
He also has plans for expansion. A second Little Free Library is planned for Wetzel and yet another will be installed on Smith.
"On behalf of the whole Baumholder community I have to tell you we're proud you came up with this idea. You did all the leg work and you've given something back to the community that's going to touch literally hundreds of people," said Sullivan.