Recycling at its best

June 18th, 2015 10:28 am

First Posted: 3/2/2015

The Pocket Library of Clarks Summit is in the making at a wood shop in the Abingtons.

In late spring or early summer, you will be able to come to the pocket library, open a very small door, reach in and be surprised at what might be inside. Perhaps the daily paper, or a magazine, a well-read book or a reading adventure for a teenager will be in the pocket library ready for the taking. This soon-to-be available library is currently being constructed by Rotarian Harry Mumford.

Almost 150 years ago in Bridgehampton, New York, 200 miles from Clarks Summit, a library was opened to the public. A private home was bequeathed to the Long Island town. At that time, cedar trees grew in abundance and local people used those trees to accommodate the needs of the library. Doors, frames and book shelves were primarily made from the cedar wood, transforming the ordinary home into the Bridgehampton Library. It was a popular place back in the late 19th century, so popular that every few years the library had to expand until all of the original house, from basement to attic, was used for library purposes.

In the present day, the trustees of the Bridgehampton Library felt that major renovation was necessary. In 2008, the trustees voted to meet the needs of library-goers in the 21st century. While keeping the look of the original house, the inside changed to modern standards. The original wooden shelves needed to be replaced. People in the town were invited to visit the the library and help themselves to the cedar wood shelves.

Rotarian Harry Mumford lives part of the year in the Abingtons and summers on Long Island. He and his wife, Julia, are regulars at the Bridgehampton Library. In 2008, he heard that the old Bridgehampton library shelves would be replaced and the old shelving would be given to anyone who wanted it. Harry salvaged some of the 100-year-old cedar. He had no idea when he stored the wood in his summer home where it would end. He just could not stand having those book shelves with time-worn quality sheen go to waste.

In August 2014, the idea of putting up a small library in Clarks Summit was discussed at a Rotary meeting at Nichols Village.

The men who first developed planters and garbage bins listened to the idea of making a tiny library. All those at the table said that a project like that would need a quality wood crafter, namely Harry Mumford. While at that meeting, a call was placed to Harry in his Long Island home. The pocket Llbrary was explained to him. He immediately jumped on the idea and said he would not only enjoy building the tiny library in his woodshop but he had cedar wood shelving from the old Bridgehampton Library for the box.

When he returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania in the fall, he brought those wooden cedar pieces with him and took them to Rotary to ask the opinion of others. All agreed. The aged cedar would be a perfect home for the Pocket Library of Clarks Summit.

At Harry’s home wood shop, the pocket library takes shape. Harry followed the drawing of Rotarian and architect Ned Connell’s design. The plan called for a box with one shelf, a triangular top with a peaked roof, a window and a glass door.

The box, made entirely of the old cedar book shelves, is finished.

Harry’s next step will be the construction of the door and window. For supplies, he took a trip to the Do It Center in Dalton and spoke with owner Doug LaCoe. The two men are old friends and had often talked about projects. Harry explained how the old cedar book shelves from Long Island were the basis of the Pocket Library for Clarks Summit. Harry said he was looking for glass to make the doors. Doug said he had just the thing and that if Harry was contributing his time and talent to make a community library, then the Dalton Do It Center would contribute the glass for the doors.

The architectural plan calls for a wooden triangle beneath a peaked roof. Upon completion, Steve Young will laser a colored Rotary logo into that triangle. At this moment, there is no roof. We are still debating what the roof should be made of - shingles or perhaps a copper cover.

Our library is part of a world-wide movement called the Little Free Library, LTD. Each tiny library is merely a box of books where anyone can pick up a book or two and perhaps bring a different one back at another time. The sharing of books is part of the literacy program sponsored by Rotary International and on our local level, we share that ideal.

As spring comes after a long, white winter, our Pocket Park on Depot Street will again be under construction and, when all is ready, the pocket library will be placed at the edge of the park so anyone can pick up a book, sit in the park and read.

Just as people pulled a book from a cedar wooden shelf in the Bridgehampton Library in 1860, so will we pick up something to read in a tiny library made from those old, cedar shelves. Recycling, for sure, at its best!