Let a thousand boxes bloom on one JP corner

Tiny library on South Street in Jamaica Plain

The soggy Pampers box that was all that made up the tiny free library on South Street yesterday was replaced this morning by five boxes from liquor companies - and by a couple of actual books.

Meanwhile, roving UHub photographer Alex Markarian reports the less troubled tiny free library at Chestnut Avenue and Paul Gore Street is busier than ever:

tiny library in Jamaica Plain

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    How is the ongoing minutiae

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    How is the ongoing minutiae of this ersatz library considered anything even resembling news?

    1) Not everybody lives in Jamaica Plain.

    2) I am willing to bet that even for people who do live there, a couple books in a cardboard box squatting on municipal property isn’t exactly breaking news.

    3) The city has public libraries, wonderful ones—no precious, hipster DIY necessary.

    If you get tired of this story, the Cumberland Farms in our neighborhood has erected a take-a-penny, leave-a-penny tray on their counter—I can give you the address.

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    I think it's just a quirky

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    I think it's just a quirky thing, this little library. It's also just an observation of the way strangers connect and form a community. To me it's one of those nice little stories that brighten my day although I'm no where in the area.

    But, I do like your line about take a penny, leave a penny.

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    Welcome to Universal Hub

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    You might be right: The vast majority of the world could care less about this (for that matter, that probably applies to much of what I write, even more serious stuff - that a guy showed up stabbed at the East Boston health center last night affects my life directly not a bit).

    But this does matter to somebody. Somebody is going to the trouble of trying to keep that thing going. That fascinates me, in part because most of us just wouldn't go to the bother. And as people explained the first time I wrote about this, there are reasons to appreciate an effort like this even if there is a BPL branch right across the street.

    Plus, I like covering stuff you probably won't see in the MSM. And I just absolutely love quirky stuff. The travails of a bunch of books atop a traffic-control box on a JP street falls into both categories. So while I won't go out of my way to check on this tiny free library (it's on the way to the bus stop where I drop off my daughter in the morning), yes, I'll keep writing about it (and mind you, I've now spent far longer writing this comment than the original post) if something new happens to it.

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    We dig quirky

    One of the reasons I read Universal Hub is that it covers the odd stuff.

    And it has great local coverage-- first place I check if I hear sirens.

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    This brings up a bigger issue

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    There's no bus stop for Latin kids closer to your house? Roslindale Square? Forest Hills? It could be, as I am not up early enough to see the Latin kids en route to school.

    As for the mini library, I like reading about things like this.

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    Yeah, there is

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    And if we were real whip crackers, we could insist she take the 50 to Forest Hills and get one of the BLS "charter buses" there, even if we didn't want to take her up to Washington Street for the special 34 to Longwood Ave. But we're all creatures of habit here, and it's a pleasant enough drive through the Arboretum (well, at least nowadays) and some more time spent with her to talk (when she's not half asleep, that is).

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    Fair enough

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    That's probably why mum used to drive me to Forest Hills when I was in high school.

    This is why I read Universal Hub!

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    Keep up the good work, Adam! And looking forward to reading more about the terroristic turkeys of Brookline, even though I live nowhere near there...

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    I Care

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    I love following the mini libraries! It's fascinating, it's human interest! I love seeing piles of used books on city sidewalks! I love seeing people walking and reading at the same time. I love living in a book town!

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    Yup

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    This is why I read Universal Hub. News you can't find anywhere.

    I don't live near JP but I like stories like this. I'll take a story like this over some gloom and doom shooting or something that goes on around time any day.

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    How is the minutiae of an ersatz writer of any import?

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    It isn't. Most news is not especially newsy. A singular fire in a separate neighborhood does not affect me. A house burn down; I feel for the residents. But if it is not indicative of a systemic problem, and the people are not my neighbors, friends, etc. then it is not news to me.

    But a neighborhood and city's character is based partly on the peculiar, interesting and sometimes fascinating minutiae of its citizens. The comings and goings of drama queens is fine for reportorial titillation and sales. It's great grist for crisis mongers. But for people who enjoy the bits and pieces that make up a community it is real news.

    Boredom is when there is nothing peculiar, odd and not quite fitting in the box. A tiny library is fascinating. It reflects its neighborhood, it is a means of indirect gift giving. It is planting ones ideas and interests in the community where the ideas may or may not sprout. The comings and goings of one tiny library by itself is local to the immediate area; it has city wide interest however when it is representative of a wider investment through out the city of time and energy in sharing the books that we own.

    Yes, a library is a wonderful thing - at least when it is open. As for the JP library come next open is a non sequitur. It supposedly will reopen in a year (this is Boston, double that). But since the library chief attempted to shut down the JP branch a few years ago she may use this as an excuse to shut down the library. The rational? After a year of no use (achievable by "temporarily" closing the branch) the evidence will be clear that the branch is not needed. Yes, money was set aside for the project but that could be reprogrammed for other branches.

    Judging

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    Don't judge a box by its cover! Just it by its character(innards)!

    Coming to a highway-like Greenway near you

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    I can't find it posted online but I believe one of the winners of the Public Space Initiative was a bookshelf for the Rose Kennedy Greenway with a similar use intended.

    I guess they can probably duplicate that idea all over the city if they want.

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    This has now become the JPiest story ever

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    As Chris notes in his story (which also lists other tiny libraries in JP), the Karma Carpenter has been delayed in his work because of a battle with City Hall over his backyard chickens.

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    "JP-ness"

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    "JP-ness"

    I don't know... I say it out loud and somehow it loses its charm.