Bosler Memorial Library, the Elm Street Project, Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the Carlisle Arts Learning Center have joined forces with a number of other community groups to launch Bosler Free Libraries, a part of the library’s Read and Return Program.
The Bosler Free Libraries are small structures that are stocked with books and located around Carlisle for community members to access at any time.
The Elm Street Project originally conceived of the idea as an opportunity for community building. The Library has agreed to lend its name to the project, stock the Free Libraries with books, and help to monitor the collection as part of its Read and Return Program. The Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authority provided funds for materials used to construct the Libraries and they were built by local volunteers. Additional volunteers from Carlisle Arts Learning Center have painted and decorated each of the Bosler Free Libraries.
Partner groups came forward with enthusiasm to offer space for the Libraries. Seven Bosler Free Libraries have been constructed and located around the community at host sites. The locations are as follows:
- Carlisle YWCA (College and G Streets – library located at front entrance)
- Project SHARE’s Farm Stand (Pitt St. at Lincoln – library located off Pitt Street entrance)
- Hope Station (149 W. Penn – library located at entrance to Hope Station)
- Butcher Tot Lot/Chestnut Avenue (library located in South East corner of park)
- Biddle Mission Park (311 E. North St. – library located by entrance way)
- Corner of Pitt and North Streets
- Corner of Penn and Bedford Streets
Because the Bosler Free Libraries are designed to increase access to reading materials, they can be accessed at any time. Many of them are located outdoors in publicly accessible areas. Community members are encouraged to stop at the Libraries and take out a book. A library card is not required and due dates are not assigned. Readers are encouraged to return the book or replace it with another book they would like to share. Library staff will monitor and re-stock the Libraries on a monthly basis.
In addition to the community based locations, the Library houses its own Bosler Free Library. Located just inside the front entrance and around the corner to the right, the Read and Return shelf allows library patrons to borrow a book and return it on their own without using a library card. In addition to accessing the collection, visitors can pick up a brochure outlining the Read and Return Program and the Bosler Free Library locations.
Elm Street Project Manager, Chris Varner, points out that what sets this project apart from similar efforts is the public nature of the Libraries. Other communities have adopted similar small library projects, but they are usually spearheaded by individuals and located on private property. The Bosler Free Libraries are built on a community approach that involves organizations, volunteers and individuals, and is strengthened by a partnership with the local public library.
“The Bosler Library is excited to work with these partners on such a community-wide effort,” states the library’s executive director, Jeffrey Swope. “Our Read and Return program is designed to offer broad access to reading materials of all types including fiction, non-fiction and children’s materials, in order to promote literacy and learning. We find that those community members with the greatest need sometimes have limited access to reading materials. In the case of Bosler Free Libraries, Read and Return materials are available to anyone at any time.”
Questions about the Bosler Free Libraries can be directed to Community Relations at (717) 243-4642 Ext. 3224.