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Sonoma County Gazette
Cloverdale Comments by Carol Russell & Reese Foxen

“Kindness In Giving Creates Love.”

– Lao Tzu –

Dec 28, 2018
by Carol Russell


The glorious season of thankfulness, gift giving, and gift receiving may have just passed; but in our city, as everywhere, its spirit doesn’t have to be limited to just one month each year. Nor does keeping that spirit alive all year long require ribbons and wrapping paper, as the photos below demonstrate. Three delightful examples of the 75,000 “Little Free Libraries” (LFLs) springing up in 88 countries around the world, they are book exchanges created and managed by volunteers. Like all LFLs, they invite everyone who passes by to take a book and/or share a book with the common goals of inspiring the love of reading, building community, and sparking creativity.  

Cloverdale’s LFLs Are Among the 80 in Sonoma County:                                                   

Little Free Libraries to be placed in front of homes or right inside businesses.

From left to right, these inviting, self-constructed and decorated LFLs are placed in front of their homes or right inside their business by:

Renee Coe and Ian Conlon of 14 So. East St.;

Plank Coffee, with our Kiwanis Club, at 227 No. Cloverdale Blvd;

Brad and Janet Horrell at 323 Pepperwood. NOTE: Due to space limitations, photos do not show full structures and contents.      

In 2009, the first LFL was built and placed in his front yard by the late Tod Bol to honor his school-teacher and avid reader mother. In fact, it was stocked with her books. Within a year and a half, there were 2508 LFLs—2 more free libraries than those built by Carnegie! (Visit for the full history plus “How To” guides.)    

Consider These Elected Officials as Gifts…Sometimes Lasting Many Years

Let’s take a moment to thank Marta Cruz and Jason Turner (newly installed, first-time city council members), Gus Wolter (re-elected to a 4th term; 2019 Vice-Mayor), Melanie Bagby (2019 Mayor) and Mary Ann Brigham (first elected in 1998.)    

In the coming years, each will give Cloverdale’s government, residents, businesses, community organizations, and projects a very special gift by taking on a demanding, energy and time-consuming, sometimes painfully public job that is, essentially, a volunteer one. To do as it as it should be done typically requires the full support of their families and friends as well as their employers, business partners, and/or customers. Definitely no ribbons or wrapping paper here…but, then, the gifts of themselves and their love of Cloverdale should need nothing more.

Then There Are the Gifts of a Good Deed and a Heartfelt “Thank You!”

Around Thanksgiving, travelers Madeline and Linda wrote just such a letter to our city after they had parked their trailer to have lunch in Furber Plaza, just off the first Cloverdale entrance, and upon return at 1 p.m. “found people around it” who told them their “three little dogs” had gotten free and “were running around the parking lot!” 

Two had been “captured” by these kind, giving, hospitable strangers; but 9-year-old, “afraid of strangers” Mona was still missing. The hunt for her continued through the evening and next day with a host of Cloverdalians stepping up to search, print Mona’s picture to distribute, and help in many ways. Sure enough, a call came in from someone who spotted Mona and soon all was well!        

Madeline’s and Linda’s beautiful letter concludes: “Equal to the gift of finding Mona was the gift of the loving community we found in Cloverdale…is this what the heart of America is!?!?!?”     



























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