Little Free Library opened in Onset Village
Onset’s newest community initiative is small in size, but the group responsible for it hopes the project will have a big impact.
On Saturday, June 5, a group of enthusiastic supporters gathered just outside Divito Realty in Onset for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the opening of a new Little Free Library.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that encourages literacy through book exchanges in tiny buildings (some might call them cabinets), that can be placed almost anywhere. Anyone is invited to walk up and take a book to read or drop off a book they’ve already read. This library is the result of collaboration between the Joshua Kaye Foundation and Divito Realty.
The Joshua Kaye Foundation was established by Melissa and Andy Kaye after their son Joshua passed away on July 7, 2014, just before he turned 9.
“He was a wild thing,” Melissa said. “But he loved taking care of the community — he always cared about what was going on, whether it was animals or people.”
Melissa said the foundation was established to help remember Joshua by “doing good in the community in ways that he might have.” Among other projects, the foundation has helped schools set up greenhouses, held clothing and book drives and supported food pantries throughout the pandemic, she said.
Setting up Little Free Libraries has been a foundation goal for years, Melissa explained.
“We just think it’s a nice little gesture in the community,” she said. “And it helps promote literacy. Josh was a big reader. He was super creative. He was always writing stories and had a bunch of favorite books and series.”
And the Little Free Library in Onset is just the beginning.
“We don’t ever just do one thing,” Melissa said with a laugh. “We like to go big. So we decided it will be an ongoing initiative.”
The Joshua Kaye Foundation will open two more Little Free Libraries in 2021 and also install “lending libraries in less public places,” she said.
Located at the corner of East Central and Onset avenues, the Little Free Library stands out: It is painted bright blue and decorated with marine life made from bits of sea glass.
Marni and Matt Dion and their kids built and decorated the Little Free Library as a family. Matt Dion also built kits for the two additional Little Free Libraries the foundation plans to set up.
Marni said that for the Onset library’s design, they aimed for a “coastal feel” that matched the community and Josh’s interests.
“Josh loved all things ocean,” she said. “He loved turtles, he loved dolphins.”
Marni said Josh had been a special part of the Dions’ lives, “so to bring the Joshua Kaye Foundation to our community was very special for us.” Melissa Kaye explained that they chose to locate the foundation’s first Little Free Library in Onset because the Dions live in town and can act as stewards and caretakers for it.
Marni also offered a “huge thanks” to Divito Realty for taking on the project and helping with the library’s installation.
Those interested in bringing a Joshua Kaye Foundation Little Free Library to their community should reach out to the foundation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.