New Fairview’s Own Little Free Library
In pandemic times as well as when the world is “normal,” reading is an invaluable part of a child’s development. Since 2009, Little Free Libraries have been providing access to books and encouraging a love of reading to children and adults all over the world. Proudly, the City of New Fairview has a Little Free Library to call its own, thanks to the stewardship and service of one community member.
With the motto “Take a book, Share a Book,” Little Free Library book exchanges are usually housed in wooden or weatherproof boxes, and can be found in over 100,000 locations worldwide—typically in places where books can be scarce. They are cared for by volunteers called “stewards,” who are often the individuals who first established them.
New Fairview’s own Little Free Library, located in the Highland Meadows Neighborhood
Located in the Highland Meadows neighborhood, the Little Free Library in New Fairview has been serving residents since 2016, with Mary Guillory as its steward. Mary, who has lived in the neighborhood for over twenty years, says she was inspired by a little library near where her grandchildren lived. “I’m really an advocate of children’s reading and learning to read,” she explained. “But when you live rural, you have to go quite a ways to get books. When I saw that Little Library [near my grandkids], I was inspired.”
With the seed of the idea planted, Mary got online to research. She found the Little Free Library webpage and registered to be a steward. Her first library was an old mailbox she painted and placed in her front yard. A few years ago, with the help of a kit from the Home Depot, she upgraded to the large, front window-design box in use today. The library is officially chartered by the Little Free Library.
Mary Guillory’s first Little Library was an old mailbox she painted and posted in her front yard. Photo courtesy of Mary Guillory.
Since its inception, Mary reports that the library has always been a popular fixture in the neighborhood. “Especially during the summer when kids are home more, this way they can just get on their bike and come to our house and get a book,” she explains. But while the library was intended to be especially beneficial to children and families during the summer months, Mary keeps the library open year-round, and stocked with books for all ages, which she sources from thrift stores and donations. During particular seasons, she tries to put out specially-themed books, like Halloween stories in October or Easter books in the spring. To make it even more fun for children, Mary also likes to include small gifts in the library, like pencils or erasers, or, currently, candy canes, for children to enjoy. Today, there are extra bins of books next to the Little Library for patrons to rifle through, and a small bench to sit on and read.
Some neighborhood children enjoying books and special gifts from Mary’s Little Free Library. Photo courtesy of Mary Guillory.
Mary loves to see the excitement the library generates, and explains that it has been especially good during the pandemic, as other library options have been limited. “Books are a good escape,” she explains. “No matter what you’re facing in your life—sometimes it’s not always wonderful things. It’s a good escape, and certainly educational. You learn a lot from books, and I love supporting that.”
Mary Guillory is a retired nurse. Aside from managing the Library, she also serves as the Secretary of Texas Democratic Women of Rural North Texas—an organization which, among other things, works to provide scholarships for women from rural areas to attend college.
We are grateful to Mary Guillory and LittleFreeLibrary.org for the information in this article, and especially to Mary for her quiet service to our community.