Little Library, Big Hopes

By Danielle LipiecCorneille Estates  gained a library as tiny as the two-block community itself, on its border with Ocean Beach, on Friday, July 13. Attendees of the resident-founded library celebrated its opening ceremony with white wine, neighborly conversation, and of course, a few books. Yes, it is feet away from the public library at Fire Island School, but that’s not the point.Differing from most libraries, the Corneille Estates Free Little Library occupies a square footage of no more than 2 feet. It stands on a wooden post on the side of Surf Road next to the ball field. While it may be small, it holds endless potential for book sharing on Fire Island.Without the initiative of Sarah Abrams, Patty Burzo, Theresa Macri and Rhonda Malhotra, this quaint method of book sharing may never have made its way to the Ocean Beach area. In collaboration with each other, the four Corneille Estates women were able to build and officially establish their own Free Little Library, with all funding coming from their own pockets.“It was a no-brainer,” said Macri, who described first hearing of the Free Little Library organization from Abrams. “It’s summertime, people enjoy reading and wonder what to do with a book when it’s done, and how to get another one. This is a perfect venue to share books throughout the community, not just with friends, but with everyone.”Founded as a non-profit organization by Todd Bol in 2009, the Free Little Library organization strives to make books more accessible to those who may not have the means of accessing them. With a small registration fee, anyone can establish a Free Little Library of their own within their community.“The founder saw a need to share books not only with friends, but also with communities,” said Macri. “It’s a great way to increase excitement and enthusiasm not only about reading, but also about playing an active role in your community.”Volunteers are encouraged to be creative and design a library of their own aesthetic, but kits can be ordered from the Free Little Library website. After registering, a new library will be placed on the Free Little Library map, also found on its website.As the second of two Free Little Libraries on the island, its Corneille Estates founders see endless potential for the Fire Island-sized library. Books of all genres and for all ages are welcomed to this miniature library, as it operates on a take-a-book, leave-abook system.This is not the first Little Free Library on Fire Island. One has existed happily at Central and Holly Walk in Fair Harbor for a few years now. Another is planned at The Palms Hotel, with an unveiling to be announced.More information on the Little Free Library organization can be found on its website at