Henley Student Opens Little Free Library in Western Ridge

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Mazie Wiseman in Western Ridge. Photo: Heidi Brown

Mazie Wiseman has taken her love of books to another level by creating Crozet’s newest Little Free Library. The Henley sixth grader and self-described bookworm held a grand opening last month for the “library,” which is contained in a brightly painted, two-level book shed near the tennis courts in Western Ridge. 

Mazie, who moved to the neighborhood in April, said she got the idea while visiting her grandmother in Charlottesville, where a Little Free Library was just down the street. “It seemed really cool, so we decided to do one here,” Mazie said.

The Little Free Library movement started 10 years ago as a way to promote reading by inspiring people to set up free neighborhood book exchanges. The nonprofit organization now has more than 90,000 registered libraries around the globe. The motto is simple: “Take a Book. Share a Book.” 

Mazie researched how to set up her own library on the organization’s website.  She found a used cabinet at the Habitat for Humanity store, got permission from the neighborhood homeowner’s association for the library location, and applied to the Little Free Library for charter status. She enlisted the help of her grandmother, artist Jane Angelhart, to paint the designs, and even got permission from the publishing company of an author whose quote appears on the back of the cabinet. A book donation drive delivered a couple hundred books to her doorstep. As the steward, Mazie frequently rotates the books between her basement and the cabinet, which can hold about 40 at a time.

Mazie said the effort has been worth it. “Books are kind of an escape,” she said. “You could be sitting here, and your mind is in Nepal. Or out at Hogwarts or wherever else your characters may be.”

Other Little Free Library locations in Crozet include:

  • Jarmans Gap Road near Orchard Drive
  • Old Trail Creekside at the corner of Welbourne and Windmere Lanes
  • Mint Springs Park
  • Crozet Park playground
  • Westhall on the Crozet Greenways Trail by Summerdean Road and Jonna Street

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