Get Breaking News

Receive special offers from

Ashe Library branches out with Twigs

Members of the Ashe Youth Service Club, from left, Loren Shimel, Owen Shimel and Bradley
Shimel present a little free library or twig to the Ashe County Public Library.

Originally published: Oct. 25, 2013
Last modified: Oct. 25, 2013

Heather Samudio

Ashe County residents who like to read but can’t make it to the Ashe County Public Library now have another way to pick up a book through a new program, Little Free Library.

The program features a little library box full of books located in remote areas of the county where individuals can drop off a book to share and pick up one or two to read.

Locally, the little libraries are known as twigs. Ashe County Librarian Suzanne Moore said they decided to call them twigs since the library can’t have branches throughout the county.

“Our library thought it would be great to put in outlying areas with the county being so spread out and some people can’t access the library because of weather or work hours,” Moore said.

Currently, there are two twigs already placed in the county. One can be found at Phipps Store in Lansing and the other is at Todd Mercantile in Todd.

“These are both good locations where folks can come and use the twigs as a community book exchange,” she said.

When Moore first heard about the worldwide program, she wanted to start one here. Her first stop was with the Ashe County Homebuilders Association.

She said the group was excited about it and built the first two twigs. Mickey Pruitt and Joel Robinson headed up the project for the ACHBA. During the construction, the association received donations of plexi-glass for the doors from Northwestern Emergency Vehicles.

The ACHBA is also working on another twig which will be made from old bleacher boards salvaged from the gymnasium before Beaver Creek High School was torn down. When completed, this little library will be placed in the Fleetwood area.

The Ashe Youth Service Club created a twig using twigs to create a log cabin look. The club presented it to the library last week. Parker Tie donated materials to the club to assist with their building project.

“It is beautiful,” Peggy Bailey, youth services librarian, said. “We sincerely appreciate the hard work and time that it took to complete the project. Kids can do amazing things.”

Bailey said the twig will be on display at the library during the month of October in the children’s area and individuals are invited to come by and help stock it with gently used or new books.

The AYSC’s twig will be placed at Mabe’s Grocery in Laurel Springs.

Other twigs are also being built by local Eagle Scouts and the shop class at Ashe County High School.

The library is stocking the books for each little library, but is also accepting donations of books to place in them as well.

“Ultimately, the communities where they are mounted will take ownership,” Moore said. “Folks will take one and leave one. If it runs well, we have back-up donations to keep the twigs stocked.”

Moore said she had already seen new books being left at one location and she was excited that residents were accessing the little library.

She said they would like to place twigs at the Riverview Community Center in Creston, the Run In market near the Parkway off Highway 16 and at the State Line Grocery near the North Carolina, Virginia line.

Moore said she has applied for a grant through Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation that could be used for a community building workshop and funding for four more twigs.

Eventually, the library would like to see the twig locations become an outreach project with read alouds and community gatherings.

“We went to Phipps Store for a read aloud and we had some folks who came out for it, but it wasn’t a large crowd,” Moore said. “I’d like to find a way to meet in the twig locations for read aloud circles especially for socially isolated senior citizens and adults in outlying areas who can’t travel and depend on our outreach for books.

Individuals interested in assisting with the project, from building a twig to participating in read alouds can contact Moore at the library at (336) 846-2041.

For more information about the Little Free Library program or for building plans, visit

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.