Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Union Academy is partnering with the Macon County Public Library to build and install the county’s sixth Little Library.

The first “Little Library” was installed almost three years ago Oct. 22, 2014, on Main Street in Franklin in front of town hall. Macon County Public Library partnered with Read2Me and the Friends of the Library, to provide the free books in common areas to make it possible for everyone to choose reading material. On Monday night, the Macon County Board of Education approved Union Academy Principal Diane Cotton’s request to build a Little Library on the school property.

The library at Union Academy will be the sixth little library constructed under the library’s umbrella. The Little Libraries are located at town hall, Iotla Methodist Church, Holly Springs Community Club, Otto Community Club, and at Mulberry Methodist Church in Otto. There is also a Little Library located at the old Cowee School, but it is not affiliated with the library.

“We believe that the Little Libraries are a great way to bring books into the community,” said Fontana Regional Library Director Karen Wallace. “The libraries let people pick out new books and drop off books they are finished with. They have been a great addition to the library’s community outreach.”

The inspiration for this project came from the Little Free Libraries, an organization that encourages the sharing of free books, in places where people can have easy access to reading materials. The mission of the Macon County Little Library is much the same: providing convenient access to all kinds of reading materials and learning opportunities. The Little Library concept provides a great way to get books into the hands of everyone who would like to read, especially children who may not have transportation to the main library.

The proposed location of the Union Community Little Library is in the front flower garden area at Union Academy.  The garden area was recently landscaped as part of a grant opportunity sponsored by Duke Energy In Action Foundation which provides shrubbery and trees to schools for use in garden areas.  The proposed spot allows easy and safe access to the Little Library near the entrance to the ball fields which are often used by the neighbors in the community and community T-ball teams.  Many community members also use Union Academy as a walking track and the Little Library will be near their pathway.

Jim Hartje provided blueprints and the design for the Macon County Little Libraries and modeled them after the timber frame design of the Macon County Public Library. Beale Construction volunteered to build Union’s Little Library. The library will hold 50 to 75 books.  The concept is to “take a book/leave a book” and Read2Me and Friends of the Library will provide additional books when necessary to keep the library stocked.