With public and school libraries closed because of the pandemic, three women saw a need to get books into the hands of local children.

Kristen Zerbato, YMCA executive director, and Annette Ferguson, CSES librarian, worked out a plan, and Scottie Felton, Long and Foster realtor, donated a box.

Ferguson painted some favorite book characters to get the children excited and, with the help of fellow librarians and friends, collected almost 200 books to get the library started.

They have picture books and chapter books to interest all readers — fiction and nonfiction.

With restrictions easing in Virginia, they now feel it is safe to open the Little Free Library which is located in front of the Cardinal Community Center building to the left of the main YMCA building.

It will be cleaned regularly by YMCA staff, according to Zerbato.

The idea is “take a book – leave a book.”

“Essentially, this is a community book swap. We want children to have access to books all the time,” said Ferguson.

The public is invited to visit the Little Free Library and join them in sharing books and creating a community of readers.

“We are proud to be a part of a network of over 100,000 Little Free Libraries around the world,” she added. “It is our hope to one day have a second Little Free Library to fill with adult books.”

If anyone has a weather-proof box that might work or if anyone would like to build a box, contact Zerbato at the YMCA.