Books are essential to many childhoods. That’s why next to the playgrounds at Schenectady’s Central Park, there’s a small blue box being installed.
“This is the sixth one that’s being put up so far, but we have a total of 11,” said Emily Willey, the mastermind behind what she calls “Our Community Library.”
What You Need To Know
- There are six community libraries across Schenectady
- They’re currently located at Woodlawn Park, Hegeman Street, Crane Street, Hillhurst Park, and the C.O.C.O.A. House
- Founder Emily Willey says the goal is to spread literacy in her community
It’s a way to get free books into the hands of children. It was an idea that became a reality on Mother’s Day in 2018.
Over the last two and a half years, Willey had put up half a dozen of these community libraries thanks to public support and donations. They’re currently located at Woodlawn Park, Hegeman Street, Crane Street, Hillhurst Park, and the C.O.C.O.A. House.
“It makes me feel really good, especially when I see kids going in there and taking out books, or when they request other sorts of books,” Willey said.
She says every time one of these goes up, it strengthens her goal of spreading literacy throughout her community.
That’s something the late Lorraine Priest was also passionate about. This library at Central Park is dedicated to her, a local daycare provider who always advocated for reading.
“Books were her life,” said Asia Priest, Lorraine’s daughter. “Growing up, we always had a library in our house.”
Her children hope children and adults all will take advantage of it, and receive the same joy they got from reading books.
As for Willey, she isn’t done. She is looking to put up five more of these across the city.
“It just means that my community has access to what they need, and I was able to help provide that,” Willey said.
Future locations include Vale Park, Steinmetz Park, and the corner of 10th Avenue and Webster Street.