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Covington to Become Home to Region’s 19th Tiny Streetside Library

Bellevue Little Free Library
The Little Free Library at Fairfield and Ward Avenues in Bellevue. Photograph by Randy Simes for UrbanCincy.

The City of Covington will join the City of Bellevue soon when Jeff Pelini installs a “Little Free Library” at the intersection of Sixth Street and Craig Street.

The matter was approved by the Covington Commission at their January 7 hearing, and will allow for the miniature bookshelf to be installed along the street.

These fixtures have become increasingly popular across the United States and throughout the world as the sharing economy continues to take hold. They are initially stocked with some books and anyone is welcome to take a book and return it or place another book inside for others to read.

The Little Free Library to the east in Bellevue sits at the intersection of Fairfield Avenue and Ward Avenue just in front of the St. John United Church of Christ. It has been there for approximately three years. A new one was recently installed on Van Voast Avenue in Bellevue as well. In September the City of Bellevue approved a certification program to encourage community engagement through construction of the little free libraries.

“The goals of the program are to promote literacy in the city, improve neighborhood aesthetic and community. Little Free Libraries also indirectly increase pedestrian activity which promotes safety,” Ryan Salzman of the Bellevue Alliance told UrbanCincy.

In 2009, villagers in Somerset, England transformed one of their iconic red telephone booths into the country’s smallest library.

The idea for this concept first gained publicity in the United States during the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 when camps of protestors began creating a temporary community, including what they called The People’s Library. Then, in 2012, John Locke gained notoriety for his DIY libraries in New York City.

According to Little Free Library’s mapping system, there are 18 of these stands throughout the Cincinnati region today. The Covington location will be the second in Northern Kentucky.

Up To Speed

DIY Plazas and Parklets Draw the Crowds

DIY Plazas and Parklets Draw the Crowds

An increasing number of cities including New York City have been seeing the success of impromptu and Do It Yourself created public spaces. In Cincinnati, which celebrates National PARK(ing) Day with the temporary creation of parklets, other cities such as Montreal, New York City and San Francisco are working to make these tactical urbanism projects allowable on more permanent basis. Read more at the New York Times:

Nationwide, people moving downtown want to be in on the mix, too; they want pedestrian-friendly streets, parks and plazas. And smart cities are responding, like Dallas, whose Klyde Warren Park opened downtown last year atop the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, where it burrows for a few merciful blocks below ground. The place was buzzing when I passed by one recent weekend. In Phoenix, where nearly half of all city lots are vacant, the mayor, Greg Stanton, lately chose an empty 15-acre parcel — an eyesore in the heart of town — for an urban park and garden where nearby residents, mostly immigrants, can grow vegetables, for their own tables or to sell at local farmers’ markets.

And in San Francisco, the city government has been renting out curbside parking spaces, long term, on the condition they be turned into parklets. Most involve little more than benches and shrubs. But the best have become elaborate interventions, with landscaping, platforms, even mini-mini-golf. I spent a morning watching kids play and adults sunbathe in a parklet outside Fourbarrel Coffee on Valencia Street. Los Angeles and Philadelphia, among others, have recently started parklet programs. New York is trying it out, too.