Ward Cove Market added a new feature this spring: “Cindy’s Little Library,” a free book exchange cabinet perched atop the picnic table at the far end of the parking lot.
The library is built to resemble a steep-roofed shingled house, painted green with a swing-open glass-fronted door upon which is printed “Take A Book - Return A Book.”
Craig Carson, who co-owns the market as well as the neighboring buildings with his wife, Cindy, and his brother and sister-in-law, said that placing a tiny library at that location was his wife’s idea.
He described encountering two tiny libraries when he and his wife were visiting Ballard, Washington, and Cindy Carson had said, “Hey, Ward Cove should have a little library.”
He added: “It’s a testament to her mentioning it and to her just being a real reader.”
They took photos of the Ballard libraries. Craig Carson said he had some time and some extra building materials around, so he designed and built the library, then surprised his wife with it.
He laughed when he added, “I’m not a marriage counselor, but I’ve been married for 33 years and when my wife mentions that she’d like something and I do it for her — that is always a good thing, too.”
He said it’s been fun to watch people interact with the library.
“It’s just kind of an interesting thing to watch and to see people’s reaction to it,” he said. “I’ve seen families sit there and go through it.”
He said the idea of someone finding a book then sitting on the picnic table to read in the sunshine is very pleasing to him.
He added that the library is “rule-free,” so people can take one or several books then bring some back at their convenience — or, not.
“I wouldn’t care if somebody took a book every week and didn’t bring one back,” he said.
“It’s just an organic thing that really works. It works naturally,” he added.
He said that one of his tenants — Green Coffee Bean Co. — also has a book exchange inside the coffee shop.
When he designed the library, Carson said, he mostly concerned that it would withstand the wet, windy weather, so chose the end of the picnic table where it is protected by the nearby marquee of the market. He said it was satisfying as well that he built it of materials he had on-hand, including the paint. Only the hinges had to be purchased.
Carson said that family friend Hannah Mann painted the lettering on the library.
“It’s kind of a fun little thing to have in our parking lot,” Carson said. “It’s just a simple thing to get pleasure out of.”