WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The idea of "Little Free Library" is now celebrating its 10th anniversary as 90,000 of the book-sharing box libraries are operating across the world.
However, "Grandma Roxann's" Little Free Library in West Seneca might be the most special because it has a mailbox for letters to Santa Claus.
"They go right to Santa and Santa will answer them for the kids personally and handwritten," said Nat Gagich.
Gagich and his wife Roxann put a Little Free Library in their front yard a couple years ago to encourage book sharing and reading.
Since the retired couple loves Christmas so much, they decided to make the library extra special for the holidays by adding a cut-out elf for photos; stocking the library with gifts of pencils, candy canes and small toys for children; leaving dog treats for families with animals, and adding a special mailbox for Santa.
"Everybody has something they can contribute," added Gagich, who said he and his wife get tremendous enjoyment seeing the smiles the library brings to kids and adults.
The Christmas theme helps spark interest among kids to come and share books on a regular basis, which it turn helps generate interest in reading.
The couple got their inspiration from their daughter, Jennifer Ouellette, who had her own Little Free Library which had become very popular with the community.
When Ouellette asked users of her Little Free Library to help with donations for local charities, they responded in big ways. This year, multiple donations of food were left at the library for the West Seneca Food Pantry.
"People were like "yes, I can help and do something too." It makes you feel good," added Ouellette.
While combining their love of books with the holidays helped create something special, the family is hoping others will consider creating their own Little Free Library for neighborhoods.
More information about creating a Little Free Library can be found by clicking here.
A map to find Little Free Libraries in your community can be accessed by clicking here.
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly talks with the family in the attached video clip.