Olive’s Free Library at Ministry Village

 In General, Ministry Village

In May 2015, Ministry Village volunteer Kathy Clements approached Olive Baptist’s librarian Joan Hoyt with an idea. The Little Free Library had become a popular idea, with miniature houses on posts springing up in communities and front yards around the world. The concept for the library was simple – take a book and leave a book – no cost and no obligation. The boxes were typically eye-catching and were accessible 24 hours a day. Kathy approached Joan with the Little Free Library as the catalyst for an idea that Olive and MVO could make their own.

Kathy suggested creating a box for Ministry Village and volunteered to be the liaison to keep the box stocked with Christian books for all ages. Her idea was to provide books for free to anyone who stopped by the box – with no requirement that they leave a book. Kathy also recruited an active Olive church member, Harold Cohen, to build the box. Joan agreed with the concept, and soon MVO’s and Olive’s version of the Little Free Library was underway.

Harold’s beautiful creation was a little white clapboard church, complete with “stained glass windows.” The location of the box was initially the MVO office at 1836 E. Olive Road. But when Ministry Village moved to its current location at 1716 E. Olive Road, the box moved too. You will find the box located near the front corner of the MVO office, and Kathy (now a Ministry Village board member) keeps it stocked with Christian books for all the readers in a family. “For the adults, we fill the library with Bibles, Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction self-help and inspirational books,” explains Kathy. “For the kids, we have Christian children’s books as well as learning books – ABCs and 123s – to empower them to learn!” Books are donated to the little free library from Olive’s church library (thanks to Joan Hoyt!) as well as from the Ministry Village Bargain Center.

A variety of books are available,
and the box is freshly stocked each week.

The box “opened” for business on Monday, December 21, 2015, and representatives of MVO and Olive’s Library worked together to choose its name as a reflection of both parties who participate – Olive’s Free Library at Ministry Village. “We basically maintain a twist on the original Little Free Library concept,” says Kathy. “We put in the books and keep it stocked, rather than depending on neighbors to maintain the books. That way, we can maintain the quality of the material. I typically add books once or twice a week. Thousands of books have gotten out into the community – I stopped keeping a record of how many!”

So, if the mood to read strikes you, come check out the selection at Olive’s Free Library at Ministry Village – it’s always open! And if you have books that you wish to donate, you can drop those off at the Ministry Village Bargain Center – along with any other item the Bargain Center can sell to raise funding for Ministry Village! Donation hours for the Bargain Center – located at 92 E. Nine Mile Road – are Monday through Saturday, 9 AM to 4 PM.

Thank you to Kathy Clements, Joan Hoyt and Harold Cohen for their thoughtfulness in making a creative concept come alive to reach our community for Jesus!

The mission of Ministry Village at Olive is to put the words of Jesus into action throughout our community – “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV) If you are looking for a place to demonstrate kindness to others for the glory of God, give us a call. For more information on Ministry Village at Olive, Inc. and its work in the community, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinistryVillage, on Twitter @MinistryVillage, visit their website, MinistryVillage.org, or call (850) 473-4466.

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