Family hopes to encourage reading, community engagement with Little Free Library

Photo by Zeinab Najm. A newly installed Little Free Library sits in the front yard of the Freys' house in the 3900 block of Mayfair Street in Dearborn Heights filled with books for enthusiastic readers.

Photo by Zeinab Najm. A newly installed Little Free Library sits in the front yard of the Freys’ house in the 3900 block of Mayfair Street in Dearborn Heights filled with books for enthusiastic readers.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — Not much of an avid reader himself, Steve Frey became inspired by his daughter Jackie’s passion to create a Little Free Library.

The library sits outside the family’s house in the 3900 block of Mayfair Street filled with books for eager readers in the area.

Not only is Steve Frey trying to encourage reading, he also hopes the library will bring the neighborhood together.

“Over the years, our neighborhood has changed quite a bit, with families coming and going,” he said. “People see each other on the street, but rarely talk to one another. The sense of community that we experienced when we where kids growing up in Trenton in the 1970s does not exist in our current neighborhood in 2016.”

Frey is a product designer who also has written three books. His wife, Lori Frey, works as a paraprofessional for the Dearborn Public Schools, and their daughter is also studying special education at Grand Valley State University.

The family will maintain the Little Free Library (Charter No. 42726) which was installed Nov. 15 as the first of its kind in the neighborhood. Each owner of the libraries build or purchase the box where books are stored; they also select the books made available to the public.

“The general public is welcome to come and take a book or books, and keep them as long as they wish. No registration or sign-out is needed,” Steve Frey said. “The reader can then return the book to any Little Free Library, or pass it on to a friend.”

Books taken from any library can be returned to the original box or any other Little Free Library location causing the book selection to change.

The Freys’ library currently contains 17 books, including “A Tale of Two Cities,” “The Night Before Christmas,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “A Hero of Our Time.”

Books for the Freys’ Little Free Library were donated by TechShop Detroit after a book drive was held in the summer. The family picked popular titles from the remaining available books.

The red library box where books are stored was created by Steve Frey after he purchased an old newspaper vending box he found on Craigslist.

He replaced the cloudy and cracked clear plastic door by fabricating a new shatter-proof glass door at TechShop Detroit and replaced the missing handle with a kitchen drawer handle.

“I also installed a plywood shelf and a solar powered light,” he said. “The light comes on at dusk, and when the door is opened, a motion sensor turns the light on brighter.”

To donate books to the Freys’ Little Free Library, email lfl42726@writeme.com or drop them off at the house.

“To donate books, the public can simply drop them off on our front porch,” Steve Frey said. “We will then mark them with our Free Little Library stamp, which helps keep them from being sold to used book stores for profit by those that might want to take advantage of the system.”

For more information on Little Free Library go to littlefreelibrary.org.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)