After working to expand hungry bellies with its “Little Free Pantry,” First Baptist Church in Corbin is now working to expand minds with its “Little Library.”
Pastor Austin Carty said the two-shelf cabinet was recently installed in the church’s garden near the Corbin Creek Walk on Laurel Ave.
The blue box contains an assortment of fiction and non-fiction books.
“One of the things we wanted to do with the garden was offer it as a space to relax and reflect,” Carty said “We put tables in the garden to offer people a place to sit. We thought it would be a great place to put a little free library.”
Carty said the library works similar to the pantry. Church members and members of the public are welcome and encouraged to put in books or take them out as they desire.
“The books are free to keep or bring back,” Carty said. “It is up to the individual.”
Carty said similar libraries have become more and more common. The members of the church’s Young Adult Sunday School Class, led by Larry and Mary Ida Gray, were responsible for the “Little Free Pantry.”
“I had been seeing stuff about little free libraries and thought, let’s do another for books as well,” Carty said.
Carty said First Baptist’s library and pantry has become a project for other churches in the community.
Carty said he came out of the church last Wednesday and saw a group of girls with a box of books for the little library.
When Carty spoke with them, he said he learned they were from Liberty Missionary Baptist Church on Young’s Creek Road in Corbin.
“They had taken on as a mission to stock and clean the library and pantry,” Carty said of the group.
Carty said the library is part of the church’s effort to expand the garden. Church members have installed 12 new raised beds to grow radishes, beat greens, lettuce, kale, beans, peas and carrots.
Volunteers harvest the vegetables, which are then bagged and given out along with the boxes of food at the church’s food pantry.
In addition, Carty said the church is looking for family that would like to partner with the church. The family agrees to work in the garden and come to food preparation class. In exchange, the family would receive a box of fresh vegetables each week.
Carty said that program is funded through a grant the church received from Grow Appalachia to fund the classes to educate the public on the importance of food preparation.
“The more people we are able to reach, the better,” Carty said.
Carty said the public may help themselves to vegetables from the garden with one condition.
“Please ask before you take them,” Carty said, adding it is a matter of coming to the church office.
More information about the program is available by contacting the church at 528-4738.