Years ago, when Meredith Lawler and her family moved onto an old farm property outside Walkersville, she hoped the barns would one day house something special. In the last year, the beautifully renovated barn at Grape Creek Farm has played host to a wedding reception and a 40th birthday celebration, as well as an inspired community event Lawler hopes to make an every-other-month occurrence she calls “Books in the Barn.”
The first Books in the Barn was held in November 2013, and found 842 gently used books displayed by category on long wooden tables, just waiting for children to take them home. A little less than half – 388 of them, to be exact – did find new homes. Titles such as “Pickles to Pittsburgh,” “Madeline and the Cats of Rome,” “Fancy Nancy’s Photo Scrapbook,” and “Who Was Anne Frank?” and so many more were offered for free to any child who visited that day. Lawler’s own love of reading, passed on to her by her mother, is reaching out to others in the community.
Aside from her own children’s stories that were donated, Lawler said her sister mailed 10 boxes of books for the giveaway, and her best friend in California sent two big boxes as well. A few local friends dropped off books, and several people brought books to donate at the event itself.
Lawler updates a Facebook page (search for “Books in the Barn” or “Grape Creek Farm”) with details about the public events. She plans to host private Books in the Barn openings for Moms Clubs, school librarians, children’s hospital representatives, and other groups.
Books in the Barn
Grape Creek Farm, in Walkersville