A little library for one and all

Nancy Baldwin stands outside the Lil' Country Library outside her home in Hessville on Thursday. The library is open to the public free of charge and includes a take a book, leave a book system. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor )

HESSVILLE — Sitting just in front of Nancy and Jeff Baldwin’s home lies the newest library in Montgomery County.

The small red building lies to the right of their driveway at 459 Indian Trail Road, decorated with flower baskets and a pig theme, including a statue in memory of their recently deceased potbelly pig, Hamlet.

Inside a hatch at the front is a place for books for every age group.

The Lil’ Country Library is an endeavor the couple has taken as a free public service to their local community.

Nancy Baldwin retired as a first-grade teacher from Canajoharie Central School district after 30 years and worked as a the director of the Canajoharie Library for a time.

The hatch on the Lil' Country Library that allows users to take or leave books. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

She said she has always loved books and likes to find ways to sharing them with others, especially children.

“I thought that because we live so far in to the country it might be easier for people to come to us instead of going to the public library,” she said. “I started thinking about it. I have loads of books of my own, and I also have several children’s books, so I thought it would be a good idea to have people bring a book and take a book.”

She said she had briefly heard of the idea, and had seen one that looked like a birdhouse on a pole, and figured they would go with something like that.

But, she changed her mind upon seeing a chicken coop at a store outside of St. Johnsville.

The building has a small interior when they can store extra books. A section that would normally be used for feeding chickens stores books that are ready to be loaned out.

The inside of the Lil’ Country Library. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

“Our friends and neighbors helped us get it together. My husband did a lot of work on it,” she said. “We are really happy with it. We just wish we could get more people to come and use it right now.”

Jeff Baldwin said it is important it not be raining when people come to get books since the design means other’s will be water logged if the hatch is open. The Lil’ Country Library will be closed during the winter.

“The library is open when the weather is nice,” Nancy Baldwin said.

The library officially opened several weeks ago with a small ribbon cutting ceremony.

There are no fees or cards for using the Lil’ Country Library, and users can come and go as they please and grab a book.

The information panel on the library. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

She said the library offers a chance for local community members to get books for themselves and their children without having to spend a lot of gas money.

The Lil’ Country Library has books for children, young adults and adults. The library currently houses everything from picture books to biographies.

“We are trying to do all ranges of what people might enjoy reading,” she said.

The community can also drop off books as a donation through a “take a book, leave a book” program. The donations can be left right in the front hatch.

“I check periodically to see what books are there and what we need to put out,” Nancy Baldwin said.

Baldwin said there have a been a few visitors so far, including a repeat visitor who has been getting books for her children.

“We’ve had a lot of good replies on what people think about [the library],” she said.

Nancy Baldwin said her husband has been a really strong presence in the creation and operation of the library.

“I really appreciate all the work he’s done. He is really a part of it,” she said.

She said he is working on an LED sign to go out in front of the house with news from places such as local churches and the fire department along with weather alerts.

Nancy Baldwin said her favorite part of the running the library so far has been seeing people use it.

“I love seeing people go through books and choose books,” she said.

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