Two local sisters created two new little libraries during the pandemic, The Turquoise Table Library in Scappoose and The Baldwin Book Corner in St. Helens. They are both a little different, but each was inspired by their love of books and wanting to make a difference in their communities.
Molly Walter, Scappoose citizen, shares that she started The Turquoise Table Library because “The decision was two-fold: First, as a lifelong learner and avid reader, I’ve had a dream of having a little library in our yard, ever since I first heard about this movement over a decade ago. My husband Josh surprised me with the library, made by my father-in-law, for my birthday. It’s a small way we can give to our neighborhood and encourage our kids to participate with us. Stewarding this library has brought us so much joy! Second, inspired by the book The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell, we painted the library turquoise and added a matching reclaimed picnic table to our front yard. Schell’s book discusses the idea of being present, inviting others into the conversation, and building a community around a table, and in our case also a library.” She calls it being “front yard people.” “For us, these brightly colored items in our yard aren’t ours – they belong to our community and we have the privilege of hosting them.”
Her sister, Hannah Baldwin, St. Helens resident, thought about starting one for years. Hannah explained, “I first noticed the concept of a “little neighborhood library” when visiting family in Des Moines, IA about 13 or so years ago. I thought the idea was such a fabulous way to give back to the community. After that, I started noticing them more and more in Portland and even some in Columbia County. I dreamed of one day starting my own but never had pushed myself to do it. Molly diving into her project gave me the jumpstart I needed. I put a library on my Christmas wishlist for my husband in 2020. We set out to create the vision I had in my head and just a few weeks later, Baldwin Book Corner was born. Baldwin Book Corner is a pretty “typical” little free library in the simplest sense. We offer adult and children’s books of all varieties. I plan to put in cookbooks, magazines, and maybe even some games for all to enjoy. We get a lot of people running and walking dogs on our street, so I outfitted the library with a leash hook, water bowl, and a jar of dog treats. If you come by, you will most likely be greeted by the barks of Moo, our 15-month-old Olde English Bulldogge.” Hannah wanted to make sure to thank her big sister Molly “for always being there to encourage me. Not only in this project but in all things in my life. I have fond memories of us reading together as kids, particularly the book All the Pretty Horses by Susan Jeffers.”
The Turquoise Table Library differs from other little libraries because it has a turquoise picnic table. Molly mentioned that “It’s a community space, not just a library. All are welcome to come to sit, read, talk, and be known. We are anxiously anticipating the drier weather of summer so we can enjoy the table even more!”
The libraries are for their neighbors to enjoy and both encourage stopping by to take a book to read, bring a book or a friend, enjoy the space and share the libraries with others. If you are on Instagram, follow and share your experiences @theturquoisetablelibrary and @baldwinbookcorner.
You can learn more about the Little Free Library organization by visiting www.littlefreelibrary.org. There is even a map that shows registered libraries around the world. Baldwin Book Corner charter # is 116690 located at 35144 Alder Street, St. Helens, OR and The Turquoise Table Library charter # is 113263 located at 52186 SE Tussing Way, Scappoose, OR.
Another way to plug in #beyondtheburbs