Little Free Library finds a home in Milltown

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A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY HAS POPPED UP ON CORTLANDT STREET THANKS TO JESSICA TOMKINS AND HER FAMILY.
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KATHY CHANG
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A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY HAS POPPED UP ON CORTLANDT STREET THANKS TO JESSICA TOMKINS AND HER FAMILY.
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KATHY CHANG

By KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

MILLTOWN — Residents can now pick up a book on a stroll to David B. Crabiel Park on the border of Milltown and North Brunswick.

A Little Free Library has popped up on Cortlandt Street thanks to Jessica Tomkins and her family.

“A few years ago, I set up a Little Free Library in Metuchen outside the nonprofit center where I was working, and it was a great success,” she said. “Almost every day people would stop by and take or leave books.”

Tomkins said they would often look out their windows and see someone browsing through the books.

“It’s a really nice way to share books with other community members,” she said.

Tomkins said she and her family, who live in the borough, often go to Crabiel Park and thought the site would be a great spot for people to pick up a book.

“The way it works, is that anyone can either buy a library from the organization or build one themselves and add it to the map of all the Little Free Libraries,” she said, adding that she and her husband built the library.

The history of Little Free Library began in 2009 by Todd Bol, of Hudson, Wisconsin, where he built a model of a one-room schoolhouse. It was a tribute to his mother, who was a teacher who loved to read. He filled the model with books and posted it in his front yard.

Tomkins said to date there are 40,000 Little Free Libraries in the world.

“When I put up the first one in 2012, there were only 2,500 [little libraries],” she said.

Tomkins said some libraries have special themes, but the one in Milltown is just general for now, filled with fiction, nonfiction and children’s books.

“As more people start to use it, that may develop,” she said.

Tomkins said someone sent her a great picture the other day of a little girl from the neighborhood standing outside it reading a book.

“I think it’s a really nice way to add something positive to the neighborhood and especially nice to think about little kids reaching up to see what’s in there,” she said.

For more information visit www.littlefreelibrary.org.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@gmnews.com.