A Little Library for Summit Park | ParkRecord.com

A Little Library for Summit Park

Alan Maguire, The Park Record
Summit Park children gather around their neighborhood's new Little Free Library during a little ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, June 5. (Courtesy of Lori Kun)

Summit Park now has its very own library. It’s about the size of a dollhouse, and it’s one of thousands in a worldwide network called Little Free Libraries.

The organization was started in Wisconsin in 2009 and goes by the motto "Take a book, return a book." The libraries are free to use by anyone.

The Summit Park Little Library is located near the top of Parkview Drive in front of the Kun family’s home.

"At this point, people are probably like ‘What is that? Is it a birdhouse? Is it a rabbit cage? Is it a mailbox?,’" Lori Kun told The Park Record.

She first heard about Little Libraries from a friend in Cincinnati, Ohio, who had created one in her front yard.

"The more she talked about how she met some of her neighbors who were on walks," she said, "they would re-route their walks to connect with the library and pick up a book or share the New Yorker — it just really struck me as something I wanted to do."

"So once we got our house in Summit Park last year I knew immediately it was a perfect community for that kind of activity."

Little Free Library is a nonprofit "whose mission is to promote a sense of community, reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world."

"It’s a very simple concept," said Kun. "It just sort of formalizes the process of people sharing books that they love. It just creates a place where you can leave books and take books. It’s not owned by us — we’re considered the steward of the library, we just sort of watch over this little box."

Affiliating the library with the larger network of Little Libraries did not prove difficult.

"Basically we signed up to be a steward and you pay a charter membership and you receive the official sign and a charter number and then you register it on the Little Free Library map," Kun said.

Each Little Library structure is unique and built locally.

Steve Kun, Lori’s husband, built the Summit Park library as a Mother’s Day present for Lori. "My two kids, who are 4 and 7, they drew out designs, sketched out designs of what they wanted and he sort of built it from that," she said.

Steve used mainly salvage materials for the project. But, Lori said, "it’s not really about the structure."

"There’s not a ton of expense and once you set it up it sort of is self-fulfilling in terms of people filling it with great books that they love," she said.

The library was pre-stocked with adult and children’s books alike that the Kuns have been collecting and Lori expects a lot of turnover.

"From what I’ve heard, the books are gone and it turns over pretty quickly," she said.

"We haven’t even really opened our library and I’ve already seen books in there that I did not put in there, which is really fun," Kun said prior to Thursday’s official opening.

Little Free Library says its libraries are located in "front yards, parks, gardens and easily accessible locations." Summit Park gets some relatively extreme winter weather compared to other Little Library locales around the world, so the plan is that the library will be open seasonally, roughly June through October.

"I think that would best serve our community because we don’t want to cause any problems with the snowplows," Kun said. "We definitely don’t want to cause any problems in terms of traffic or snow removal. Summer’s a perfect time to dive into a book."

While Kun is passionate about reading and sharing good books she’s just as passionate about her neighborhood.

"It’s just actually a very little thing in our community, which is so awesome already. It’s just a very small way of giving back for how grateful I am for what a great place we live in. I think Park City is such a unique place and Summit Park is such a unique place, I think we’re all just so happy to have a place like that, so we just want to keep giving back in ways that help us all connect with each other. Because the people who live here are pretty great," she said.

Expect to see more Little Libraries in the area, Kun said.

"I’ll bet you anything that there will be some that pop up just after people see it. I just feel like, once you see it you sort of think ‘Oh, that’d be fun!’ You just have to see it and I think the idea will catch on," she said. "I can totally see it all over Park City, for sure."

The Little Free Library in Summit Park can be found on the east side of Parkview Drive above Paradise Road and below the trailhead. Anyone is free to leave a book or take a book. For more information about Little Free Libraries, visit littlefreelibrary.org.