Councilwoman Catherine Kent helps Peconic Community School students stock the "Little Free Library" in Stotzky Park in Riverhead April 21. Photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead Town is now part of a volunteer-led global book exchange network, thanks to the efforts of fourth-graders at Peconic Community School in Aquebogue.

Stotzky Park in Riverhead now has a “Little Free Library,” built to look like a rocket ship, where kids can borrow books to read and drop off books for other children.

Students in Meghan Hillen’s class designed the “Little Free Library,” which was built by PCS parent Adam Spar. The children assembled, sanded, painted and decorated the rocket ship at their school.

The students organized a book drive to stock the rocket ship with its fuel for learning: children’s books for every interest.

Kathryn Casey Quigley, the school’s co-executive director, reached out to Councilwoman Catherine Kent, a retired elementary teacher, to seek her help in finding a spot for the “Little Free Library.”

Kent said she spoke to the town recreation department and a site in Stotzky Park near the preschool and Little League field three was selected.

Kent said her favorite time of day in her 38 years of teaching in Riverhead was read-aloud time. She brought a few of her favorite books to add to the “Little Free Library” book exchange.

“Books can take us on a journey. Books can transport us all over the world,” Kent told the children. “They teach us about other people’s feelings,” she said.

“You did a great job,” Kent told them.

“A big part of our mission is making the world a better place,” Quigley said. She thanked the councilwoman and Supervisor Yvette Aguiar for coming to the ribbon-cutting.

“I want to thank you for being so enthusiastic here today,” Aguiar told the children.

She said she looks forward to seeing the “Little Free Library” all stocked up with books.

“The parents, you are the vessel to the children. You are the ones who brought them to this point,” Aguiar said.

“In today’s digital world, where everything is computerized, it’s good to be able to sit back and read a book,” she said. “By reading books, you can see different sides of the world. Some of the books are funny. Some are serious,” she said.

“This is very creative. You hit it right on the nose.”

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and Councilwoman Catherine Kent snipped the ceremonial ribbon for the ‘Little Free Library’ April 21 in Stotzky Park. Photo: Peter Blasl

The supervisor cut a ceremonial ribbon to make the opening of Riverhead’s “Little Free Library” official.

The “Little Free Library” is a nonprofit corporation that is “a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries.”

The concept dates back to 2009, when a Wisconsin resident
built and installed a little library on his front lawn as a tribute to his mother who loved to read. The “Little Free Library” has grown into a network of more than 100,000 registered libraries in 110 countries around the world.

The book exchange functions on the honor system; everyone contributes to ensure there are always quality books inside for both children and adults. It’s a “take a book, share a book” book exchange.

Anyone may contribute or take books. You can donate books by simply placing them in the “Little Free Library” book exchange. Everyone who takes books is asked to either return them to the “Little Free Library” or donate other books, in order to keep the little library stocked.

“It’s such an inspiring program that we are planning to install several Little Free Libraries throughout the town in other hamlets,” Kent said today.

Peter Blasl contributed reporting.

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