The 5,276th Little Free Library to be officially registered was erected May 1, but it’s the first one in the Salida area.

The Little Free Library is on the road turning into Cochetopa Estates, at the corner of Airport Road and Silver Spruce Drive.

The concept of Little Free Libraries is “take a book, return a book.” Marilyn Bouldin, creator of Salida’s Little Free Library, said the aim is to promote literacy, a sense of community and public art.

The library is about 12 inches deep, 20 inches wide and 28 inches tall. It has a peaked roof and a plexiglass hinged door on the front. The structure stands atop a 4-foot-tall post.

“I think reading is one of the best gifts you can give our kids ... . You can never have too many books, as far as I’m concerned,” Bouldin said.

She said she hopes the Little Free Library will supplement the Salida Regional Library, and she wants people going by to see it and “feel invited.” She also hopes this “experiment” will help people in her neighborhood “get to know each other.”

A self-proclaimed “bookaholic,” Bouldin said she has been reading for as long as she can remember. She first discovered Little Free Libraries while reading a newspaper article in Santa Fe, N.M.

Intrigued by the idea, she went to the organization’s website,, and decided to start one for “pure fun.”

Instead of buying a box from the website, Bouldin opted to build her own with the help of friends and neighbors because it was less expensive, and it’s more meaningful if it’s personalized, Bouldin said.

Bouldin said the library is a community project: It was built by a community, and it’s meant to improve the community.

Robert Birney built and painted the box red, Joanie Barbier painted sunflowers on its side, and Bouldin’s husband, John Bouldin, spent 2 days digging a hole to put it in the ground. The couple also put a bench next to the library.

“I put it up, but I want everyone to think it’s their library. It’s a community library,” she said.

If someone wants a book from the library but doesn’t have a book to leave, Bouldin said she hopes they will still take one.

Bouldin filled the box, which she wants to hold a variety of books, using some of her own collection, books she bought at the Salida Regional Library book sale and donations from friends and neighbors. She said she expects to restock the library occasionally and welcomes donations.

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