Submitted by Jan Crossen
Lopezians love books and nine year old, Sebastian, and his two year old sister, Beatrice, are no exception. They recently discovered the Northstar Little Free Library located just up the road from their home. It is one of only two registered members of the Little Free Library Organization on Lopez. The other library is at 295 Hilltop Way. “It’s worth mentioning that Sebastian is autistic,” his mom, Trish Elliot said. “Quarantine has special challenges for neurodivergent children for whom change is often especially difficult. No longer having access to places, people, and therapies can be devastating. Sebastian has worked diligently to be flexible and understanding of the Covid-related closures and distances, but it is still hard. Having this beautiful surprise to discover at the top of his quiet street was exactly what he needed! He hasn’t read much at all since Covid but here he is rediscovering his love of books. It brought something special during a tough time. We are so thankful for this little library and our neighbors who built it. Sebastian was still talking about his visit at bedtime!”
“I’ve always wanted my own little free library,” said Jan Crossen, an avid reader and one of the owners. “It has been a family project with my wife, Barbara Swahlen, and sister-in- law, Linda Swahlen both contributing. There are several little neighborhood libraries throughout the island and it makes me happy whenever we’re driving around and come across one of these little treasures. I’m excited to stop and see what books are inside.” Bill Evans, former Lopez resident and Superintendent of Schools, learned of Jan’s desire to have a library so he offered to build one. He asked for photos of the family home and designed a structure that is surprisingly accurate. His wife, Ellin, even furnished the upstairs area with furniture!
“When I was a little girl my grandmother was the librarian in her little village of Albany, Ohio,” Crossen said. “I used to donate my books to that community library. Always encouraging me to read, dream, and learn, this little library is dedicated to her and that pursuit. It made my heart so happy to see the joy on Sebastian’s face when he selected his book. It just doesn’t get any better than that. I know that my grandmother is smiling too.”