A computer hacker hides out while a journalist works to prove her innocence in a string of murders. A teenager realizes she can bring book characters to life when she reads out loud. And a little boy finds out what happens when you give a moose a muffin.
All of this and more takes place in books tucked in a small wooden box in the Guthrie familys front yard on Springfield Avenue in northeast Fort Wayne.
On a muggy overcast day just before the Fourth of July, Joel Guthrie, 43; Kristen, 38; and their son Will, 7, stood under the canopy of trees in their yard, rearranging books and seeing what was new in the library of sorts they installed a few weeks ago.
Oh, a firefighter one, Kristen said to Will, a second-grader at Blackhawk Christian School. Thats neat.
Kristen, Visit Fort Waynes director of marketing, got the idea for a little library after seeing something similar in a yard near her parents home in Michigan. She looked around online and found the website for Little Free Library, a national non-profit organization that promotes reading by encouraging families to install a mini library in their yard.
The library can hold about 30 books and has a good selection for kids, teens and adults, Kristen said. The family supplied the initial batch, but theyve already seen new titles cropping up.
Joel, a science teacher at Blackhawk Christian, made the box out of wood by following photos he saw online. The librarys red door is a repurposed picture frame. As they inspected Joels handiwork, he and Kristen joked about the changes they might have to make for winter so they dont wind up with ice-crusted, frozen books. A roof with a good overhang, Joel said, is key.
Patrons of the Guthries library dont actually have to check out books and return them. A note on the inside of the box reads: Welcome! Take a book! Donate a book! Share a good read with your neighbors! Theres even a brown, insect-sticker-covered guestbook, already filled with a few messages of praise and gratitude.
Joel said hes enjoyed seeing neighborhood kids ride up on their bicycles to check out the book selection, and the library has allowed the family to meet more neighbors. Kristen added that the library is a good way to encourage Wills love of reading. Hes already picked out a few new books, including his favorite, If You Give a Moose a Muffin.
With lots of dog walkers, kids on bikes and stroller-pushing moms in the neighborhood, the Guthries library has seen a lot of action since it was installed.
Its really fun to see what shows up every day, Kristen said.