Matthews – Mint Hill Weekly
MATTHEWS – Outside of the Matthews Heritage Museum, patrons will notice a smaller rendition of the Massey-Clarke House.
While the replica is worthy of a moment’s reflection, what’s inside could hold one’s fancy for hours – the house is actually home to a small library filled with free books.
Barbara Taylor, executive director of the museum, said the museum’s staff and volunteers recently were brainstorming ways to continue to engage with the community.
“The museum has limited hours, so the little library is a great way to show the community we are always here, even when we are closed, and we hope to include a lot of books focused on history and historical fiction,” Taylor said.
Nine months ago, museum volunteer Kerry Surface suggested having her son build a library modeled after Todd Bol’s Little Free Library. Bol, of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse, posted it in his front yard and filled it with free books in tribute to his mother, a former schoolteacher who loved reading. His efforts have since taken off and spread across the country.
Kerry Surface’s son, Jason Surface, was up for the challenge.
“I thought it was a pretty neat design and idea,” he said. “A good thing to do and have in the community.”
Surface researched similar designs online and came up with his own, which incorporates the original little library design, but also has a special connection to the Matthews Heritage Museum.
Taylor said she was impressed with his dedication and hard work, and thankful his family donated their time and the supplies that went into the creation of the Little Free Library.
The library has stood outside of the museum for less than two weeks, and several people have already borrowed books or stopped by to take a peek inside. Some of the initial books the museum placed inside include: “Daughter of Fortune” by Isabel Allende, set partially in California during the Gold Rush of 1849; “Murder at the Pentagon” by Margaret Truman; “The Reagan Diaries,” edited by Douglas Brinkley; “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, a futuristic fiction novel; and “On this Day in NC” by Lew Powell, which lists the daily events in North Carolina’s history.
There are few rules to the Little Free Library, and everyone can join in – just take a book of interest and return one in its place for others to enjoy.
Surface, a 42-year-old south Charlotte resident, said he looks forward to sharing books with the Matthews community.
“I think it will be interesting for people who enjoy reading; just pick out a new selection and recycle an old book, giving back to community what you’ve already read,” Surface said.
Taylor said she thinks the idea is a fun way for the museum to engage with the community.
“It’s an extension of being a good neighbor to the town of Matthews, and encourages people to learn history in anyway they can,” she said.
The Matthews Heritage Museum is located at 232 N. Trade St. The museum focuses on telling the story of Matthews through various exhibits that showcase the history and lives people who lived in the town in the past. It is open to the public every Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Find more informationwww.matthewsheritagemuseum.org.