As of Feb. 18, residents are welcome to visit Cervantes’ home to drop off or pick up books at their convenience from a small library placed outside her yard.
The initiative stems from an idea formed by Todd Bol of Hudson, WI., who built a model of a one room schoolhouse filled with books in 2009. Bol’s idea was a tribute to his mother, a teacher and avid reader. Momentum for the movement grew and by January of 2014, the total number of registered Little Free Libraries in the world is estimated to be between 10,000 and 12,000, with thousands more being built.
Cervantes, 32, said she heard about the Little Free Library from a cousin who lives in Denair. According to Cervantes, her cousin was the first in their family to promote the idea and currently hosts their own free library at their home location as well.
Cervantes wanted to bring that same spirit to the Patterson community, especially for her ardent 12-year-old daughter.
“My daughter Mirlette was my inspiration,” said Cervantes. “She always wanted to go to the library no matter what time it was. She wanted a book to read at any time, day or night. The Little Free Library is there 27/7, no questions asked.”
But Mirlette was not the only driving force behind Cervantes’ actions. Instead, she saw a growing need for the youth and literary lovers to congregate together, share insight and offer community support.
“Everyone can benefit [from Little Free Library of Patterson],” said Cervantes. “I see students walking from school and stopping to get a book. Sometimes they sit on the sidewalk just to read. I am thinking about putting a bench next to the library for them.”
Cervantes is happy to have integrated the publics’ interests with her daughter's, and is happy for the stay-at-home experience due to her current condition.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29,” said Cervantes. “It metastasize to the bone, so now I have it all over my bones. No treatment worked, so I am under hospice, just waiting for my day to come without pain.”
Although she is under hospice care, she joyfully accepts the role as lead librarian for the community library, which helps take her mind off her diagnosis.
She believes the interaction between her and community is a perceptive experience, and also allows her to leave behind a legacy for her daughter.
“I like to keep myself busy, and this project has me completely busy. Working together with my family and friends was a great idea,” she said. “I plan to continue running the library until the last day of my life. After that, I have Mirlette as my back up person and I know she will do a great job.”
Mirlette, a local Creekside Middle School student, said she loves the opportunity and convenience of having such a wonderful service in her front yard. She hopes to acquire mystery and horror novels in the near future, including “The Dollhouse Mystery,” by Carolyn Keene.
In order to promote the free program, Cervantes also set up a Facebook account—Little Free Library of Patterson—complete with a gallery of pictures, building stages and fun facts attributed to books. Visitors and book donations are always welcome.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.