Marco Island DAR establishes ‘Little Free Library’ at Mackle Park

Chris Curle
Special to the Eagle
Mackle Park's Samantha Malloy, left, and DAR member Peggy Eckhold present Marco Island's first Little Free Library installed at Mackle Park.

What is a Little Free Library? Well, that pretty defines it. More broadly it is a worldwide volunteer network of little box libraries meant to inspire readers and expand access to books. There are about 100,000 little free libraries in 100 countries with 42-million books are shared every year.

Why do we need a Little Free Library when we have such a nice county public library on South Heathwood Drive? The answer, according to DAR member Peggy Eckhold, is to take books to where the children are rather than taking children to where the books are.

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“It’s just another convenience,” she said. “We want to make reading materials available not just at a library, but where the children have easy access to them.”

Eckhold adds that the Little Free Library is at the entrance to Mackle Park building, “where many children take classes at the community center. So, they and their families can exchange books easily.”

Eckhold says the free library also is different from public libraries “because you don’t have to return the book you borrowed or even return the book at all. And you can take or contribute books at any time.”

Marco Island’s first and only Little Free Library box was donated by and will be maintained by Marco Island’s DAR chapter.

“Reading is very important to me,” Peggy explains. “I taught third grade and learning-disabled children in Kentucky and Michigan. “I know how important reading is.”

Eckhold spearheaded the project for Marco’s DAR, having seen a Little Free Library box at Lake Charlevoix in Michigan. She ordered the library kit from and her husband, John, assembled it.

Marco Island’s chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will maintain the library box and make sure that it is stocked with books.

Peggy Eckhold said Marco’s Little Free Library box has only children’s books in it, but the boxes also can have young adult and adult books.

Approximately 32 million adults in the United States can’t read, according to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy. And, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 50 percent of U.S. adults can’t read an eight-grade level book.

The more books in or near the home, the more likely a child will learn and love to read. But two out of three children living in poverty have no books of their own.

Little Free Library book-sharing boxes play an essential role by providing 24/7 access to books areas where books are scarce.

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If you want to contribute, check your closets, storage bins or extra bedrooms for books that need a reader and take them to Marco’s Little Free Library at Mackle Park. Or buy new books to donate.

To learn more about the Little Free Library, visit

DAR is a service organization with 180,000 members in 3,000 chapters worldwide. Members are women 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot in the American Revolution.

Monthly DAR meetings are at 10:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Members also meet casually between meetings, just for friendship and fun. The chapter has 73 members and welcomes visitors from other chapters.

Contact Ellen Camm,, 317-372-1174.