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Martha and Jerry Galarneau facilitate community-centric book exchange on Howlett Road

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Jerry and Martha Galarneau smile in front of their Little Free Library at  22012 S.E. Howlett Road.

An Eagle Creek couple is connecting their neighbors with a variety of stories.

About five years ago, Martha and Jerry Galarneau started a small library outside of their home at 22012 S.E. Howlett Road. They were inspired to do so when they found out about the Little Free Library program, which includes 70,000 registered book-sharing boxes in 85 countries across the world.

People can take a book to read or bring one to share in the small wooden box on the edge of the Galarneau's property. The setup is similar at all Little Free Libraries.

Jerry built the library box and performs any necessary repairs, and Martha maintains its inventory.

Typically, she acquires books from Goodwill, the Salvation Army and The Book Nook in Estacada. People donate books as well, and sometimes the pair will return home after leaving the library empty and find it filled once again.

Occasionally, the library receives "nutty books," such as a manual for a 1958 18-wheeler vehicle.

"We get almost no cookbooks," Martha said. "No one wants to give those up."

Typically, the library needs to be replenished several times a month.

"I try to put quite a variety in there because there are a variety of souls using it," Martha said, noting that she strives to have both bestselling and new authors available.ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - There are a variety of books available at Jerry and Martha Galarneaus Little Free Library in Eagle Creek.

Children's books are the most popular items, followed by mysteries and the works of Lee Child and Dean Koontz. "The Horse Whisperer," a 1995 novel by Nicholas Evans, has also proved itself to be in high demand.

"Every time I put that book in there, it disappears quickly," Martha said.

Though the books are "all over the board," she tends to avoid adding books with religious material to the library.

"We don't want to look like we're pressing someone in one direction," she said.

She added that there are many avid readers in her family, so she's used to shopping for books.

The couple sometimes puts candy in the library. In the fall, they leave a table of produce from their garden near the collection of books.

The Galarneaus enjoy fa-

cilitating the exchange of stories.

Jerry noted that he sometimes sees a young boy at the library who calls his mom to let her know what books are available. She then tells him which novel to bring her.

"People are nice," Martha added. "Every now and then someone will leave us a thank you note."

If community members wish to donate to the library, books can be left next to the structure.

"The project makes me feel good because it's so embraced by whoever's out there," Martha said. "It's been well received, and the turnover is good enough that I know

I'm supporting something useful."

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