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Home News-Telegram News Sellers family honors matriarch with Little Free Library - Unveiling set Friday, Jan. 31, on the square

Sellers family honors matriarch with Little Free Library - Unveiling set Friday, Jan. 31, on the square

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    To celebrate her love of reading, the family of Billiefae Vaden Sellers has decided to set up a Little Free Library on the downtown square.

    “Kim, my wife, and I were taking a walk in the Azalea District in Tyler last spring, and happened upon a Little Free Library in front of a residence,” said son John Sellers. “We fell in love with the concept and researched about them on their website.”
    According to Little Free Library’s website, www.littlefreelibrary.org, it was Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis., who, in 2009, “built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it. He built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said ‘Free Books.’ Rick Brooks of Madison, whom he met at a seminar on promoting green practices and a vibrant local economy for Hudson, entered the picture as a colleague exploring potential social enterprises. The two saw opportunities to achieve a wide variety of goals for the common good.”
    Bol and Brooks were inspired by many ideas, including “Andrew Carnegie’s support of 2,509 free public libraries around the turn of the 19th to 20th century; the heroic achievements of Miss Lutie Stearns, a librarian who brought books to nearly 1,400 locations in Wisconsin through traveling little libraries between 1895 and 1914; take a book, leave a book collections in coffee shops and public spaces; neighborhood kiosks, TimeBanking and community gift-sharing networks; and rassroots empowerment movements in Sri Lanka, India and other countries worldwide.”
    In the beginning, the pair’s goal was to have 2,510 Little Free Libraries — as many as Andrew Carnegie — and keep going.
    “This goal was reached in August 2012, a year and a half before our original target date. By January 2014, the total number of registered Little Free Libraries in the world is conservatively estimated to be between 10,000 and 12,000, with thousands more being built,” the website notes.
    There is no checkout system at Little Free Libraries. You can take the book and replace it with another or not. There are no rules about returning what you’ve borrowed. It truly is a no cost, small resource for book lovers.
    The Sellers family thought having a Little Free Library would be a “great idea for our beautiful square,” Sellers explained.
    He mentioned the idea to City Manager Marc Maxwell.
    Then the project took on special meaning.
    “After my mother passed away in June, we were trying to think of something to do in her honor,” her son rememberd. “My mother loved reading and instilled that love in her sons (John and Tom). She was very active in the Friends of the LIbrary, and served as president back in the 1970s.”
    Sellers said he talked to Maxwell about having award-winning artist Jerry Lee “design something that would fit on our beautiful square. He came up with the design and built a library that would compliment our beautiful courthouse.”
    Lee constructed a miniature version of one of the courthouse spires. The piece is currently on display in the window at his shop, Texas Art and Frame Shop at 206 Church St.
    “When they came to me and explained what they wanted to do, I loved the idea,” Lee said. “When I found out where they were going to put it, I said, ‘That’s a no-brainer.’ I’ll make it to resemble the courthouse. I tried to mimic the feel of the courthouse.”     
    The idea has the full support of Hope Cain, director of the Sulphur Springs Public Library,  who promised to support it with books, etc.
    “We thought it would add one more activity to people visiting our square to read a book, leave a book or borrow one to return,” Sellers said. “We will unveil the library on the square at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31. Please join us to honor our mother, courthouse and wonderful square.”




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