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Dowagiac resident installs Little Free Library on Big Twin Lake

DOWAGIAC — Amber Blauer enjoys both books and her close-knit community of Big Twin Lake.

So when she and her family decided to install a Little Free Library on the corner of Lakeview Drive and Maple Street on Big Twin Lake, it was a way to bring her two joys together.

Blauer is in the process of registering her book box with Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization that promotes neighborhood book exchanges, usually in the form of book boxes. According to the organization’s website, millions of books are exchanged each year through Little Free Library book exchanges. Once registered, the organization will add Blauer’s box to its map, which allows people to locate Little Free Libraries in their area using its website.

“I got hooked on reading when I was in elementary school,” Blauer said. “I started reading Beverly Cleary books at the school library, and they taught us how to find the books that we wanted, and from that point on, I was hooked. I love reading, and I want to give back to this community because this is an awesome community.”

Blauer works at the Van Buren District Library after previously working at the Dowagiac District Library. A book sale a few weeks ago was the inspiration for her book box.

“We were having our book sale, and a lady came in looking for free books because she wanted to fill the book boxes in Dowagiac,” Blauer said. “I thought to myself that we’re in a great location for it. We should have one of those out here in Twin Lakes. It’s a 10- to 15-minute drive to the nearest library, and, with schools not being open, I thought it would be cool for kids in the area could walk up and pick out a book, or vacationers who come up on the weekends can have access to books and they could trade books with us. We have books for all ages.”

On Monday, Amber and her husband, Matthew, installed the book box in front of their house and filled it with books from a used book sale. Blauer’s son, Chase Button, is an avid book reader who helped select the first batch of books in the box.

“I’m just excited to get the word out,” Blauer said. “We’ve had it up this week and people have looked at it, but I don’t think they know that it’s free and that they can use it. It doesn’t even need to be a trade. You can open it, take a book, and we’ll replenish it. It’s easy to manage. It’s something that’s not a big deal for us to handle, but it can be so beneficial for a lot of people.”

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Blauer believes the concept of having outdoor access to books may appeal to some people.

“You don’t have to worry about going inside a building, putting a mask on or anything like that,” Blauer said.

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