FPL dedicates two new Little Free Libraries

October 30, 2020 Press Release

On Saturday, October 24, 2020, FPL honored benefactors of the library with the dedication of two new Little Free Libraries. At 11 a.m., library lovers gathered at 51 North Main Street for the opening of a Little Free Library in honor of Pitso Mafata and in memory of his wife, Lornar. Mafata is a native of South Africa and came to the U.S. in 1964 as a member of an acting troupe which presented Alan Paton’s play Sponono on Broadway. When the actors sought asylum rather than return to the dangers of apartheid South Africa, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., intervened on their behalf. Mafata became a U.S citizen and acted on television and at the World’s Fair where he met Lornar, a dancer and native New Yorker. She became the principal of the Mafata Dance Company, a modern dance troupe in New York and Warwick, and died in 2018.  After moving to Orange County, he visited several libraries before finding a home at FPL. “Everyone here is so friendly and they make me feel like family” he said.  The North Main Street location of the Little Free Library was provided by the Florida Union Free School district.

FPL Director Madelyn Folino with Pitso Mafata

After the dedication, library supporters walked to the opening of a second Little Free Library at 69 South Main Street in front of the home of FPL Trustee Kevin and Nicolle Lundell. The Little Free Library was dedicated to the memory of Mary Fish Kimiecik (1932-2009) who lived across the street for decades while raising her children Peter, Joel and Peggy. “Miss Mary” was a volunteer in the library’s preschool program for years and provided a grandmotherly touch for many children and parents, assuring them that they would survive separation and firmly telling them not to cry. She loved to read and her excited reviews of the latest book would start many a discussion in the library.

Members of the Kimiecik Family at the opening of the LFL dedicated in memory of Mary Fish Kimiecik

FPL’s first Little Free Library is located on the front porch of Roe Brothers, Inc. at 65 Maple Ave. Residents are invited to take a walk through the village and visit one or all the Little Free Libraries to pick up books for all ages.  For more information, call the library at 845-651-7659.


Florida’s Little Free Library Has Books To Go

Little Free Library located on the front porch of Roe Brothers, Inc.

FPL circulation supervisor, Ashley Baroch, all geared up to make sure FPL’s Little Free Library is clean and ready for patrons to select a book. “Take a book, leave none”






April 29, 2020 Press Release

Got books? Little Free Libraries do and five of them are located in the Town of Warwick. According to the Little Free Library website littlefreelibrary.org there is one in the Village of Warwick, one in the Town, two in the hamlet of Pine Island and one in the Village of Florida. The Little Free Library movement prompts individuals and community organizations to install small book depositories with books free for the public to take with the motto “Take a book, leave a book.” Some Little Free Libraries are little more than a couple shelves protected from the weather. Others are wildly extravagant and custom, colorful creations dedicated to a theme, genre or historical building and constructed with loving detail. Registered and recognized Little Free Libraries can be found on the official website’s global map along with their latitude and longitude and information on their registered stewards. Little Free Libraries are helping to minimize the pain that readers of all ages are feeling now that public libraries are closed due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

There are fourteen Little Free Libraries listed for Orange County, some maintained by individuals at their homes and others maintained in public locations by Scout or 4-H groups. Number 39953, the fifth Little Free Library in the county, is located at Roe Brothers, Inc. at 65 Maple Avenue in Florida and is the only area Little Free Library installed and maintained by a public library. Since 2016, the Florida Public Library, in partnership with Roe Brothers, a family-owned hardware and lumber business, has stocked and maintained the library on the store’s front porch. The library was designed and built by the FPL Tween Club under the supervision of adult volunteers and was installed in time for Roe Brother’s 130th anniversary. Its design echoes the store’s renovated board and batten architecture and features a copper roof made by Roe descendant Tim Bieling, one of the current owners of the store. Two comfortable rocking chairs bracket the library on the store’s front porch and the free selection of books is available 24/7 in a central village location handy for walkers and drivers.

FPL circulation supervisor, Ashley Baroch, usually seen behind the front desk, busily checking library materials in and out and offering suggestions on what to read next, has been stocking the library’s miniature location regularly with books for all ages due to the current high demand. Since Governor Cuomo’s stay at home order in mid-March, Ashley has refilled the Little Free Library seven times with freshly cleaned books. Although the Little Free Library motto usually invites donations, she asks that during these days of quarantine, the motto be changed to “Take a book, leave none.” Due to the cancellation of the April and May Friends of the FPL used book sales, the library has an abundance of donated books in good condition to share and is not taking book donations during the closure. Ashley promises to keep the Little Free Library full with a variety of good choices. For desperate readers in search of their favorite author or genre, Ashley will try to find the perfect book and leave it for you. You can reach her by emailing fpl@rcls.org or by leaving a message at (845) 651-7659. Are you already visiting the Florida Public Library’s Little Free Library at Roe Brothers? Reach out and let us know.  Email your pictures to fpl@rcls.org or tag Florida Public Library on your Facebook and/or Instagram posts.



Little Free Library Opens in Florida


June 8, 2016 Press Release

Bob and HelpersOn Saturday, June 4, 2016, the Florida Public Library and Roe Brothers, Inc. unveiled a joint project several months in the making: a Little Free Library on the front porch of Roe’s newly renovated hardware store and lumberyard at 65 Maple Avenue in Florida. The occasion was the 130th anniversary of this historic mainstay of Florida’s business community which opened in 1886 on property formerly owned by the Erie Railroad which once ran through Florida to service local farms. The store is now operated by Roe descendants Arnold Bieling and sons Tim and Scott. The Bielings are also descendants of the Seward family so prominent in Florida’s history.

Roe MenThe Little Free Library was constructed by the members of the library’s Tween Club, fourth and fifth graders who worked under the supervision of several local volunteers. Architectural drafter and newly elected library trustee Cecelia Lillard oversaw the design process and taught the students how to imagine, plan and draw designs for the structure. Expert woodworker Bob Persing, an engineer retired from Princeton, was in charge of construction. Funds for the project were provided by a grant directed to the library by State Senator John J. Bonacic. Roe Brothers also donated materials and Tim Bieling crafted a gleaming copper roof for the miniature library which also features a board and batten design echoing the style of Roe’s building updated by DeGraw and DeHaan Architects. 

The Little Free Library is now open for business and stocked with paperbacks for summer reading, children’s books and how-to books on home repair, carpentry and renovation. All books were donated to FPL and are free for the taking. Bookmarks and flyers on library programs are also available in compartments within the little library. Roe Brothers has provided rocking chairs for the porch and a pet watering station, as well, so store customers, neighbors and passers-by, both human and four-legged, are invited to sit, stay and read.

The Little Free Library movement, headquartered in Hudson, Wisconsin, is a worldwide effort to make books available to everyone. Its motto is “Take a book, leave a book” and Little Free Libraries may be erected by individuals, businesses or anyone who cares to take on the responsibility. Florida Public Library will be the steward for the library and keep it stocked with reading materials while Roe Brothers will see to maintenance. A custom wooden sign with an official registration number and the Little Free Library logo is on order and the new library’s GPS coordinates will also be included shortly on the global map on www.LittleFreeLibrary.org.

“We thank Arnold, Tim and Scott Bieling for their support of reading” said library director Madelyn Folino. “They couldn’t have been easier to work with and we look forward to many happy years of partnering with them on this outreach project. In fact, we’d love to have more Little Free Libraries in Florida if anyone can suggest other sites. We’re looking into it now, but we believe there are only two other Little Free Libraries in Orange County.”

Roe and FPL