EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Nowadays, you don’t have to visit your city or town’s library to get your hands on a good book.
Instead, just look for miniature book-sharing boxes in your community.
The Little Free Library is a worldwide movement with a goal of providing communities with 24/7 access to free books.
There are dozens of tiny libraries sprawled out across Rhode Island.
But for one East Providence family, the initiative is personal. Laura Crowe tells 12 News the library outside her Troy Street home is dedicated to her late mother.
“My mom had piles of books,” Crowe said. “They were everywhere. Next to the bed, in the kitchen … in the trunk of the car.”
“Gran’s Lending Library” is filled with books for people of all ages to enjoy. Crowe said her family loves watching people stop by for a book.
“The FedEx man checked it out once and he didn’t find anything,” she recalled. “I was so sad and the next week I made sure there was something better … and he left with a book.”
Crowe said when she first head of the movement, she knew it would be the perfect way to honor her mom’s memory.
“It’s fun to see everyone come and grab a book, or maybe even leave some books,” she said. “It’s always a surprise when we come home.”
Crowe said she takes a “shelf-ie” each week of all of the books inside her library.
“When I come home, I’ll say, ‘Why does it look different?'” she said. “Then I’ll look and compare which books they took.”
Crowe said the library brings her joy the same way her mother did when she was alive. She passed away after contracting COVID-19 two years ago.
When asked what it was like visiting her mom while she was sick, Crowe said it was heartbreaking.
“I spent the last night with her when we knew she was going to pass,” Crowe recalled. “I held her hand and I actually put on an audio book of ‘Little Women’ for her, which was her favorite.”
“My mom was my sun,” she continued. “My entire Earth rotated around my mom. She’s the one who gave me life, so seeing her that weak … I just said, ‘It’s OK, you can go.'”
The library is Crowe’s way of keeping her mom’s legacy alive.
“We have a stamp,” she said. “We stamp every book so it says ‘in loving memory of Gran.'”
Crowe said she even has something special planned for her mom’s birthday.
“I’m going to put all the books Gran liked in there,” she said with a smile.
Gran’s Lending Library is located at 135 Troy St.