Groton library loaning books at the beach

Groton - The Groton Public Library has set up a mini library called a "Book Nook" at Esker Point Beach, a program that could be expanded in the future and allows people to borrow donated books on the honor system without a library card.

The first "nook," a hand-made book case in the shape of a life-guard chair, was set up at the beach last month and holds about 60 books.

It was crafted by a librarian's father, George Parent, a retired Groton teacher. All books in the nook, ranging from children's picture books to mysteries and romance, are donated.

"People are so generous in the community that (the supply of books) is constantly being replenished," Groton Public Library Director Betty Anne Reiter said. "We want people to read - so whatever it takes."

Books have not gone missing from the nook, she said.

Parent built the nook in about a week and the library needed only to supply the small piece of Plexiglas that covers the door, Reiter said. The nook sits on the sand near the steps that lead to the beach snack bar.

Kimmerle Balentine, children's librarian and homebound delivery service coordinator, came up with the idea after visiting nursing homes and bringing an assortment of books to residents. She hopes to set up other "nooks" in places like area nursing homes and businesses.

"I love the idea," said Christine Lawton of Groton, as she relaxed at Esker Point Beach Thursday. "I think it's really encouraging, actually. There are too many people that use their phones and their iPads and their computers instead of actually reading books."

Books in the first nook include "First Drop of Crimson" by Jeaniene Frost, "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen and "As Husbands Go", by Susan Isaacs.

"I think it's a great idea, especially at the beach," said Michael Brassard, of Wilbraham, Mass., who visited Esker Point Beach Thursday.


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