About two months, Sr. Pam and I went to a friend’s house for supper. It was at her house in Green Bay that I was thrilled to have my first encounter with the Little Free Library!
It seemed to be the perfect juxtaposition between geocaching (a great love of Sr. Pam’s) and library visits( a great love of mine). This first encounter spurred me on a mission to find all of the Little Free Libraries in my local area. I found that there weren’t many but I made frequent use of the ones I did find for a steady two weeks. Little did I know that Sr. Pam had already been thinking about using one of these little bookworm’s box of delights as an evangelization tool at each our parishes!
So after a few weeks of talking, planning, finding builders, and a painter to decorate it (that would be my honor), the project began. Omro’s library is covered in colorful scenes of the Creation story while Winneconne’s library is painted with assorted stories from Scripture. In the week to come, St. Mary’s-Omro and St. Mary’s- Winneconne will both be mounting their little libraries for all to in the local community to use!
In Pope St. John Paul II’s address to the Latin American Bishops, he said , “Look to the future with commitment to a New Evangelization, one that is new in its ardor, new in its methods, and new in its expression.” As I write this, I am also reminded of something a teacher once told me – we always have to be ready to implement the next best practice in ministry. The world is moving faster with every passing day and the ministry methods we thought were “new,” become a thing of the past all too quickly. With Little Free Libraries standing in 50 states and 40 countries worldwide, this up and coming project may very well be a “next best practice” for inviting people to engage in good reading as well as to learn and grow in their spiritual life.
Lesson: Sometimes there are things that are not immediately obvious as a means of evangelization but, if we are willing to step outside the box and be creative, the whole world is at our fingertips. It was once said that “sometimes you have to look at something familiar until it becomes strange to you and then, suddenly, it has the possibility to become new again.” Our little free libraries are not entirely new but we are excited to use them to build up the kingdom of God!