As word of the Little River LFL spreads, we see more people coming to enjoy both it and the Landing. It’s nice to be able to grab a book, sit on a bench, and be among nature. 

Of course, the Landing wasn’t a secret before. Neighbors, artists, boaters, nature lovers, and travelers have been using it for time out of mind.

A plein air painting class took advantage of the beautiful weather the other day.

A gathering place like this is not only useful for fun and learning. As the idea of the “little free” exchange makes its way into our society’s greater consciousness, people have started coming up with other wonderful ways to share and to support each other. 

The other day, several people told me about a story on the Huffington Post about a Little Pantry in Fayettevile, AK. “The Little Free Pantry in Fayetteville, Arkansas gives the community a place to donate food and supplies to people in need. The concept is simple: Anyone may place and take items inside the pantry at any time — and that’s it,” writes Elyse Wanshel. Along the same line, there is a “Blessing Box” in Florida run by a seven-year-old boy and his family. It contains not only food, but toiletries and clean clothing. 

Blessing Boxes and Little Pantries are popping up all over the place. They may be diminutive, but their value is immeasurable. They are another reminder of our immense capacity to lift each other up through what appears on the surface to be a small gesture. 

Until next time, happy reading.


It sure has been a busy couple of weeks!

The Little River Little Free Library opened for business on July 10, 2016! We had a really great turnout, and everyone brought books to exchange! 

Good Morning Gloucester’s Bridgette Mathews was kind enough to write this beautiful story about the opening, and she also included some fabulous pictures. 

Attendees included Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Ward 5 Councilor Sean Nolan, Councilor-at-Large Jamie O’Hara, and Awesome Gloucester Trustee Susan Gould Coviello! 

We’d like to thank those special people AND our next-door neighbor, Kris, who kindly helped us install the library. It’s in there as firm as anything! 

Over the last two weeks, we’ve been able to enjoy watching our neighbors and travelers from out of town look at the selection of books in there. There are lots of choices, and they’re changing all the time. This morning, we found several Babysitters’ Club books in there – always a favorite for Summer reading. 

We are putting a new guest book inside – the one we used at the opening is full of sweet messages and signatures from family, friends, and neighbors. We wanted to make sure to keep it safe, always. 

So please stop by! There’s a convenience store across the street where you can buy ice cream. There’s a beautiful river to enjoy. We’ve even heard – for those of you who are interested – that there’s a Geocache somewhere in the area. 

Thanks so much, and happy reading!

Open for business!
Mayor Theken leaves a book and takes a book!
Councilor Nolan has been there from the beginning!
Some of the excited attendees!


Libraries. Books. They are important.

My mother, Jackie Newton, was the Children’s and Youth Librarian at the Millicent Library in Fairhaven, MA, where I spent my chidlhood. It is impossible for me to fully describe her love for children and literacy in a WordPress post, but I will do my best.

As a typical kid, I had no idea how much work she really did. Here are some highlights:

  • She did Story Hour once a week for the toddler-and preschool-aged set.
  • She did movie nights for teens.
  • She coordinated summertime activities for preteens too young to work but too old for camp.
  • She was one of the librarians who got to drive Fairhaven’s Bookmobile until it was retired in 1986.
  • She took her book wagon and “Witchie-Poo” puppet to every elementary school in Fairhaven.
  • Yearly, she planned and executed an enormous event – the annual Teddy Bear Parade on our church lawn across the street from the library. She was one of many people who have made this special day possible since its inception in 1984.
  • She even helped to make accommodations as comfortable as possible for the Crown Prince of Japan and his wife, Princess Michiko, when they came to visit for the first Manjiro Festival in 1988. Here they are touring the library in the center of the picture, he in a gray suit and she in pink with a pillbox hat. Why all this fanfare, you ask? Here are another couple of cool links about the Manjiro Society and John Manjiro Nakahama.
  • We benefited from her work on a daily basis. We got to participate in almost every event she planned. Best part: she would always bring new books home for us to read! I marveled at her ability to read upside-down. She took great care to make everything interesting for us, including adopting different voices for book characters.

There is more, but these are some of the biggest things I remember.

Jackie did her soul’s work by helping children learn to love reading. She also helped to energize our community through planning fun events and innovative ways to learn.

When I heard that our friend, librarian Ann Richard, had founded Fairhaven’s first Little Free Library outside the house on Hedge Street where my mother grew up, my mind was blown. I wanted to do something to honor my mother’s memory in a way that would also be good and fun for Gloucester, the community where our ancestors settled and where our family began. I thought that founding a Little Free Library in Gloucester would be the perfect way to do it. Over a year later, here we are!

Thank you for your support. Thank you for reading. See you on the Landing!

Awesome Gloucester Grant

With the BIGGEST THANKS to the Awesome Gloucester trustees for their generosity in awarding the Little River LFL with an Awesome Gloucester micro-grant at Awesome Gloucester Pitch Night tonight! 

The grant will be put toward maintaining the landscape at the landing, keeping the LFL stocked with books from the Second Glance Thrift Store (benefiting the Open Door Food Pantry), and – here’s something equally exciting – there is enough money budgeted in this grant to help 6 other Gloucester Little Free Libraries with the registration fee and a special stamp. 
Three entities have expressed interest in opening up their own LFL’s in town. If you are interested, please contact me at ASAP! 

Thanks to Awesome Gloucester for all its work in keeping our community interesting, fun, and…AWESOME! 

The Blank Slate

Thanks to the Gloucester High School carpentry students, with the guidance of Jack Andrews and Dana Griffin, we now have a Little Free Library! It is just waiting to be painted, stained, and sealed against the elements.

If you see that the door opens from the bottom, that is on purpose. It will help to protect the books in case the door is accidentally left open. The head of Little River is very windy.

2016-05-10 08.50.39
It will look way better when it’s out of the trunk, we promise.

There is also a sturdy post on which it will sit.

This LFL’s design was taken directly from the Little Free Library website. If you are interested in building your own, you can find the plans here.

Next up: Jen goes to Awesome Gloucester Pitch Night on May 16, 2016 to make her case for a micro-grant!

Thank you for reading!

What is The Little Heater, anyway?

In researching the area around Knowles Landing, we’ve learned that the corner of Essex and Magnolia Avenues is part of The Little Heater of Gloucester.

The Little Heater is a rough triangle that encompasses Ravenswood Forest, Bond Hill, and the Fernwood area. If one were looking at a map, it would run from the corners of Magnolia and Essex Avenue to the corner of Essex and Western Avenue and back up Western to the corner of Magnolia again. Please don’t ask us about the Big Heater, though – we’re less sure about that one!

According to local legend, equestrians in the past would warm up their horses by running them around this triangle of West Gloucester. We’ve also read that the shape of the Little Heater’s three roads resembles an old-fashioned snow plow or a hot chunk of cast iron. Either way, we think it’s pretty darned cool. Er, hot.

On another hot topic: a Little Free Library has opened up in Bay View! You should definitely check it out if you’re in the neighborhood. It’s got a beautiful and thoughtful nautical theme, right down to the buoys on the side. If you’ve got time, check out the old fish shacks nearer to Hodgkins Cove next door – there are buoys on those, too!

It Begins. 

April 8, 2016

What the heck is a Little Free Library? 

According to the website, “The mission of each Little Free Library is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.”  

Little Free Libraries are popping up all over the place. All over the WORLD! There are LFLs in Essex, Beverly, Newburyport, and beyond. As of today, though, there isn’t one in Gloucester. 

That is why I am very excited to announce that, this summer, a Little Free Library will be installed at the Stubby Knowles Landing at the head of Little River!

We’ll probably install it to the left of that bulletin board.

With permission from the Gloucester Waterways Board and with the encouragement of our Ward 5 Councilor, Sean Nolan, the Little River Little Free Library will be installed before the start of the next school year. Dana Griffin and the Gloucester High School Carpentry students are building the structure. Materials were generously donated by The Building Center in downtown Gloucester. Once the Little River LFL is built, we will paint it, register it, install it, and CELEBRATE! Then, we’ll get down to the business of reading. 

Thank you for visiting! Please check back for updates!