READING IS NOT FOR THE BIRDS
Book lovers “flock” to the “birdhouse” at Emily Mixon’s home. Those who came out to recently to enjoy the Little Free Library in Bunkie include (in no particular order) Reid Newton, Tom Roy, Lelia Davis, Emily Mixon, Lelia Venable, Samantha Mixon, M’Lee Sonnier, Sawyer Sonnier, Lynn Roy, Amy Sonnier, Donna Newton, Kaitlyn Newton and Grayson Newton. {Photo courtesy of Emily Mixon}

Bringing books into the neighborhood

Mixons install Little Free Library in Bunkie front yard

There’s a new library in Bunkie. It’s very little, but it’s free to use and it’s open 24 hours a day/seven days a week.

The Little Free Library at Emily Mixon’s home at 1103 Dr. McConnell Blvd. in Bunkie was mother Barbara Mixon’s idea.

Barbara said it is her way of honoring her grandmother, longtime Cottonport librarian Montez Juneau.

The oversized birdhouse that serves at the Little Free Library was installed at Emily’s home in town “because this house is about in the center of town and has more foot traffic” than Barbara and Mark Mixon’s rural home outside the city limits, Emily said.

“We had a good crowd on Saturday for the grand opening and a lot of people came by Sunday,” Emily said.

“We have had children asking for children’s books and several people ask for Christian books,” she continued. “One high school student said she wanted several books to improve her vocabulary for the SAT test.

“It is so cool to see what people like to read and how we can help them.”

WORLDWIDE MOVEMENT

The little birdhouse on Dr. McConnell Boulevard is the newest addition to what is called the “world’s largest book-sharing movement.”

There are about 75,000 Little Free Library book-sharing sites in 80 countries, including Iceland in the North Atlantic, Pakistan in the Middle East and even in the far-off Australian island state of Tasmania.

More than 10 million books are exchanged through the worldwide program, sponsored by the Wisconsin-based non-profit organization.

LFL has been honored by the Library of Congress, the National Book Foundation and the American Library Association. Reader’s Digest included LFL in its “50 Surprising Reasons We Love About America.”

Emily says the front-yard libraries won’t replace the tried-and-true public libraries -- nor are they intended to -- but can help foster a love of reading and be another outlet to get more books into the community.

“Our Little Free Library doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the whole town,” Barbara said. “It’s our hope that this Little Free Library will bring a little more joy, a little more connection and a whole lot more books to our community. The purpose of the Little Free Library is to be place where area readers can share good books -- pick one up, leave one behind.

It is not necessary to exchange a book or to return the ones you “check out.”

The important thing is that books are being read and enjoyed in the community.

The oversized birdhouse library holds about 20 average-sized books, Emily said.

“I have a box of books in the house,” she continued. “I will use that to restock the library”

On weekends, when the weather permits, she plans to set up a table outside so she can put out all of the books.

‘A LOVE OF READING’

“I have a love of reading and I have always wanted to share that,” Emily said. “I heard about this organization and thought it was a cool concept.”

She and her mother looked further into the program and signed on.

The small book exchange site will be open around-the-clock. If Emily is home, she said she will be glad to answer the door and help people find a book that interests them. “Especially on weekends,” she added.

If the LFL’s first weekend was any indication of its future, it seems destined to be a bringer of joy to Bunkie neighborhoods for as long as the Mixons remain committed to it -- which doesn’t seem to have an expiration date.

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