City spokeswoman Judy Knight said the Little Free Libraries, two miniature buildings sharing the Tudor motif of neighboring homes, are independent of the DeKalb County Public Library System.
“They are part of a larger international effort by the nonprofit Little Free Libraries organization,” she said.
The nonprofit’s goal is to promote “literacy, a love of books and a sense of community,” Knight said.
The Avondale Estates Garden Club sponsored the Dartmouth Avenue location, stocking it with children’s books.
“We were targeting children because a lot of them walk to school, the playground, tennis courts and swimming pool,” said Faye Boyd, former club president.
“Lots of mothers walk by there to take their little ones to the playground. You can see them taking a book and putting one in.”
Jennifer Mayo said she has seen visitors use the all-ages library in her Lakeshore Drive front yard.
Built by carpenter Hubert Thompson, it is painted to match her house.
“We’ve got little instructions in front and a sign so they can quickly figure out what it’s for,” Mayo said.
“They are supposed to borrow and return, or they can donate to it.”
The hands-off management style of the system seems to work keeping books on the shelf, Mayo said, even if they are not the same ones she put in.
“I haven’t kept track of them. I expect (the supply) to be ever-changing,” she said.
Likewise, Boyd said since her club’s location opened in January, it has had no problem.
“Periodically it’s checked to see if there’s an adequate supply, and there has been,” she said.
Knight said the structures do not attract thieves or vandals, adding that Decatur has several stations which are used as they are intended.
“I would liken them to murals in cities,” she said.
“When communities put them in place, they often don’t get covered in graffiti. There’s a general feeling that it is of value to all people in the community and deserves a level of respect.”