(ROCKWALL, TX – August 28, 2018) At the corner of Breezy Hill and Kimberly Lane in Rockwall stands a Little Free Library – a small, handcrafted repository of reading materials that’s available to anyone who wants a book.
Debra Wiley, a retired educator, said she was inspired to place the book exchange on her property in honor of her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
“My mother instilled the love of reading in me. That’s the gift she gave me when I was very young,” said Debra, a ‘lifelong learner’ who wants to share her passion with others.
“The concept of lending library is take a book, leave a book,” Debra explained, but she added that even if people don’t have a book to leave behind, she invites them to pick one up and enjoy a good read.
Debra’s husband, Bill, constructed the weather-resistant library with a shingled roof and red door, and erected it by their pasture – the perfect location.
“We already have a captive audience. On any given weekend, it’s not unusual to see cars stop along our fence line to say hello to Jenny,” said Debra.
Jenny is the Wiley’s pet donkey, and she’s somewhat of a neighborhood celebrity. She even has her own newsletter – The Hee Haw Herald, which is available for pick-up on the fencepost.
“We publish the newsletter about four times a year,” said Debra. “It contains donkey facts, like donkeys shouldn’t eat too many sweets or green grasses. Donkeys are highly intelligent, and there’s a lot of Christian lore surrounding them, so there’s plenty of interesting things to write about.”
A wooden bench next to the library beckons animal lovers and book lovers alike. With autumn in the air, Debra hopes to offer coffee or cider someday soon as well. Her church has offered to donate books, and the collection includes adult, teen, pre-teen, and children’s books – even bookmarks.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire a love of reading, build community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges. The Wiley’s library is registered through littlefreelibrary.org; it has an official charter sign and is part of the organization’s world map.
“I just love that the Little Free Library is right next to a subdivision and the kids can walk over, pet a donkey, see a garden, and grab a book all at one location!” said friend and neighbor, Cindy Knochel.
By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News. Photos submitted by Debra Wiley and Cindy Knochel.
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