Free library makes big impression

Lambert’s Cove becomes a book swap spot with hand-crafted library.

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The Island’s network of little free libraries continues to grow with a fairly new addition at Lambert’s Cove Beach.

Looking for a way to promote literacy on the Island, and inspired by other free libraries, 19-year-old Tain Leonard-Peck of West Tisbury decided he wanted to build a little free library of his own, but it’s not so little.

Over six feet tall and made from an old cabinet, Leonard-Peck’s free library dwarfs most others, and is packed tight with books of all shapes, sizes, and genres. There’s even a shelf dedicated to kids’ books, one of the free library’s most popular sections. Leonard-Peck got the cabinet from Chicken Alley in Vineyard Haven, and then built doors for it with lumber from E.C. Cottle’s, near the beach parking lot. The whole library was waterproofed and sealed up with a latch to keep books dry and safe. With a little help from his family, Leonard-Peck hauled the library in the farm truck, and got it down to the lifeguard shack at the Lambert’s Cove Beach parking lot.

“I’ve done a lot of thinking about literacy. I thought this would be a great addition to the beach and to West Tisbury,” Leonard-Peck said.

Leonard-Peck placed the library in the Lambert’s Cove Beach parking lot because of its central location for those living near the beach. Leonard-Peck lives with his family a short walk from Lambert’s Cove Beach, and helps manage the family farm that grows mushrooms and sells them to local restaurants and at the farmer’s market. The family also sell eggs and offer goatscaping services. He honed his carpentry skills while growing up on the farm, having built chicken coops and other structures. “There’s lots of people living here. It’s a good central location,” he said.

He also wanted to build the free library for both the year-round and seasonal visitors to the Island and the beach. Having traveled a lot to Europe and Central America, Leonard-Peck wanted to offer other travellers a free and easy way to grab a book on their trips to the Island.

Leonard-Peck is an avid reader himself, having just finished Larry Nevin’s 1970 sci-fi classic “Ringworld.” He also enjoys doing his own creative writing. 

While there are plenty of books inside, Leonard-Peck said lots of people are always exchanging books and adding more in, and he encourages people to always bring unwanted books to drop off, exchange, or just borrow for a nice beach read. Looking ahead, he hopes to get more Portuguese-language books and kids’ books, which are in high demand.

Will there be more free libraries crafted by Leonard-Peck?

“Possibly,” he said. “It depends if I find a good spot for it.”