Road Trip Libraries…
Any road trip – be it brief or far ranging – is bound to present new Little Free Libraries to visit. On a recent Interstate voyage to the great state of Wyoming – state motto, “Equal Rights” – I was able to stop at two libraries tucked away in the least densely populated state in the lower 48.
Hidden in the western foothills of the beautiful Bighorn Mountains is the tiny town of Ten Sleep, Wyoming. Home to the Ten Sleep Mercantile and the annual NoWoodstock Music Festival, it’s regarded as one of the top concert and event venues in the state. It also hosts a Little Free Library adjacent to the Ten Sleep Museum, situated on US Highway 16, the town’s dusty main street. After we found a place to park, as home grown country music played in the background, my traveling companion and I inspected the sturdy wooden library, featuring an attractive metal roof. Enclosed behind a small glass door, I found plenty of the usual suspects from Stephanie Meyer and Jonathan Kellerman, to Patricia Cornwall and Sue Grafton. After a brief search, I selected Odd Hours (for a Dean Koontz fan back home) and placed The Fruit Hunters, Adam Leith Gollner’s food adventure book, inside.
With plenty of miles to go before the next Super 8 on our itinerary, we were back on the road in a moment or two, passing through the vast sugar beet fields of Worland on our way to Thermopolis, Wyoming, home to Hot Springs State Park. As we roamed the town that evening, the stench of sulfur heavy in the air, we used the handy on-line LFL map to find another library, just down the road from Thermopolis Middle School. Featuring unusual double-door architecture and sporting a coat of bright blue paint, this library is accompanied by inviting landscaping with pavers and an attractive cement bench, accented with some towering sunflowers and a cute honey bee flag. I looked inside, encountered a Clive Cussler, a Ralph Compton and a couple of James Lee Burkes, but decided on Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer winning novel Gilead. As the neighbor kids were riding their bikes in the diminishing light, I left behind A Supremely Bad Idea, a singularly insane travelogue by birding nut Luke Dempsey.
After a long day of adventures, we slowly wandered back to our motel room. Having completed our brief initial sampling of the Little Free Libraries of the American West, we slept well, with many miles ahead of us and countless libraries still out there.
photos by the author and his traveling companion