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Giving books a good home a noble undertaking

Unwanted books are a sad thing. However, thanks to efforts from several caring K.I. Sawyer residents, that literary population is on the decrease.

Melissa Derby is founder of Read UP Bookmobile, a book exchange program that promotes literacy in the Upper Peninsula.

Derby got the idea for the bookmobile when she received books from Victory Lutheran Church in Gwinn that weren’t selling. So, she set about to find them new homes.

That’s not a bad thing to do. Books can wait for people to come to them, but sometimes it’s better for books to come to people.

Collecting books is one thing. Distributing them and getting them into the hands of people who want and need them, though, is another.

So, Derby distributes her books at events such as festivals, craft shows and picnics.

Then there are the Little Free Libraries, which have popped up around the globe.

Eleven of those libraries are at K.I. Sawyer.

Derby has put those libraries — decorated boxes containing free books — throughout Sawyer.

She collected the books, but someone had to make the boxes to hold them.

Those boxes were created by a Sawyer resident and veteran Ryan Lipinski, who simply enjoys making the libraries, with one of them even decorated in red, white and blue.

So, not only do the Little Free Libraries offer free reading material, they add a decorative touch to the community.

Derby hopes people who read books will spend less time in front of a screen.

There’s also the tactile aspect of books. Derby said books have a smell, which heightens all of a reader’s sense.

Her goal is to make Read UP Bookmobile a nonprofit, meaning she can accept financial donations and give receipts. In the meantime, she accepts books, of course. Donors can visit Read UP Bookmobile on Facebook, or contact Derby directly at 906-204-9406 or email readup.bookmobile@gmail.com.

Sawyer is not the only community in need of a literate populace, but we’re glad to see residents stepping up in the region to provide books, which themselves provide so much to a community.