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Little Free Libraries added to Master Gardeners’ Sensory Garden at Lysock View Complex

Visitors to the Lycoming County Master Gardeners’ Sensory Garden will notice new additions to the garden’s scenery. Two decoratively painted Little Free Libraries, filled with books for children and adults, stand along the path through the garden, encouraging visitors to “Take a book, leave a book.”

At a dedication of the structures, Master Gardener Caroline Balliet quoted from Carl Sagan’s book “Cosmos,” which said in part, “Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

The structures, one a recycled newspaper box donated by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, the other purchased from the Little Free Library organization, were painted and decorated in bright colors with a nature theme before being placed in the garden at the Lysock View Complex.

According to Bernadette DeLullo, a member of the committee that worked on the project, plans for adding the libraries to the garden have been in the works for about a year.

With the structure purchased from the national organization, it was a matter of sanding and painting, but the repurposed newspaper box took more time to prepare it to begin its new life at the garden.

DeLullo said that the committee first had to check it out to see if it was accessible, to make sure all the mechanical things worked.

“We cleaned it, sanded it down and painted it,” she said.

The committee chose a bright blue color and painted flowers and butterflies on the boxes in keeping with the nature theme.

“We put bees and bugs and worms and all kinds of stuff on them. They also have quotes regarding reading because that’s what we’re doing, promoting reading and sharing,” she said.

The repurposed newspaper box houses books for adults while the purchased box is for children’s books.

The Master Gardeners partnered with the Friends of the Library group from the James V. Brown Library to stock the little libraries initially. They will also provide some of the books to replenish supplies. Donations are accepted.

“The whole process of the Little Free Library is to take a book and leave a book,. If somebody finds a book they might enjoy, they’re more than welcome to take any they like and also if they want to leave any, that would be appropriate,” DeLullo said.

The Master Gardeners have a committee that sorts through donated books to see if the books are appropriate. If possible donations of books to be placed in the little libraries should be taken to the Penn State Extension office at the Lysock View Complex. The primary focus of the books at the sites is gardening and nature, but the group will accept books about other topics.

The boxes at Lysock are certified on the Little Free Library organization’s website internationally, so that everyone can see where they are located. A bench, donated by the North Central Sight Services, gives visitors a spot nearby to sit and read.

“I hope that when you talk about the garden to people outside of here, you will let them know that we have these here. It’s a great place to sit and read a book,” DeLullo said.

“Enjoy it. Spread the word and donate books,” added Balliet.

Members of the committee, in addition to Balliet and DeLullo, include Pam Yaple, Janet Hurlbert, Jamie Weider, Heather Allison and Becky Lock.

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