PATERSON, NJ- While its size may pale in comparison to the one that stands majestically on Broadway, the opportunities for residents to read and expand their minds are just as great at Paterson’s newest “library” that was officially opened on Saturday.

This one, located right in Baer Park, is part of a greater effort by Paterson’s poet laureate, Talena Lachelle Queen, to bring reading to adults and children alike all throughout the city as part of the “Little Free Library” initiative she’s brought to her hometown.

“Little Free Library” is a national movement that encourages individuals to share the love of reading, building and maintaining book lending boxes where residents are encouraged to donate and borrow.

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Baer Park’s “library”, stocked with a variety of books to fit every interest, is intended to “feed the entire community, and make us a better Paterson,” according to Dr. Lilisa Mimms, who in 2017 adopted the park and now is the sponsor behind the addition. Mimms, who told TAPinto Paterson that she loved reading as a child, continued to say that she was “proud” support the initiative that will help be “part of the solution,” to some of Paterson’s ills because “that’s what leaders do.” The former Board of Education Commissioner and current member of the Paterson Planning Board is currently seeking a seat on the Paterson City Council.

Queen’s efforts to expand reading and artistic opportunities throughout the city have been praised by a wide range of community leaders and elected officials alike, and, according to several individuals that TAPinto Paterson has spoken to, including Victoria Oquendo, are making an impact.

“I didn’t grow up with a lot of things,” Oquendo said thoughtfully as the group gathered discussed the many benefits of reading from an early age. “But we always had books.”

The Little Free Library in Baer Park is the 12th with the 13th to be erected in Pan American Park later this spring.