Local author donates to Little Free Library, raising funds for new book


By Ron Giofu

A “Little Free Library” location that started in front of a Hainer Cr. home is continuing to promote reading and literacy with a local author now contributing to those efforts.

The “Little Free Library” (LFL) that was brought to Amherstburg in 2015 by Carolyn Dopson and Carol Owen has now received a donation from author John Schlarbaum. Schlarbaum explained that he was approached by Owen at Art by the River in August and they agreed the donation of his first book “The Doctor’s Bag” and his three of his mystery novels – “When Angels Fail to Fly,” “Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner” and “Off the Beaten Path” – would be made to the LFL.

The “Little Free Library” that sits in front of the home of Carolyn Dopson (left) received a donation of four books written by local author John Schlarbaum (right), including three “Steve Cassidy” mystery novels. Schlarbaum is also fundraising for his next book, the latest mystery involving the Jennifer Malone character.

“I really like to support anyone in our community who is doing such a great job,” said Dopson, who hosts the LFL in front of her home at 14 Hainer Cr.

The “Little Free Library” adds to a “sense of community” and Dopson said there have been people from as far as Paris, Ontario that have come and exchanged books. The LFL movement was founded in Hudson, Wisconsin in 2009 by Todd Bol as a tribute to Bol’s mother, who was a school teacher who loved to read. It was established as a non-profit organization in 2012 with Bol and Rick Brooks being co-founders.

Dopson added the concept is to leave a book or take a book but “there’s no obligation to do so.” She added she screens all books to ensure they are appropriate.

Schlarbaum believed having a book in hand is a “completely different reading experience” and that while all of his books are available on e-book, there are many who prefer hard copies.

The Amherstburg author is also set to officially release “Abandoned” in November, the second mystery novel based around the character Jennifer Malone. While the three mystery novels Schlarbaum donated to the LFL are based around the Steve Cassidy character, the new book is a return to Malone’s character.

The four new books donated by local author John Schlarbaum are seen in the Little Free Library at 14 Hainer Cr.

The other book featuring Jennifer Malone was “A Memorable Murder” and that was released six years ago.

“To me, this has been a two-year project,” Schlarbaum said of his new book “Abandoned.”

His previous release was “Lasting Impressions” and Schlarbaum noted he did a Kickstarter campaign for that book to assist with printing costs. It also served as a way for people to buy the novel so that is why he is currently doing it again for “Abandoned.”

Schlarbaum said he needs to raise $3,000 by Oct. 19 at 11:59 p.m. and has raised over $1,400 to this point.

“They are pre-ordering the book,” he said. “They are actually getting something for their pledges.”

If a person or a book club wants to order multiple copies of “Abandoned,” the cost of the book starts coming down, he added. A pledge of $15 gets the person an e-book while $20 or more gets a paperback copy. There are other incentives if people are interested and they can visit www.kickstarter.com, search John Schlarbaum and click on the link for “Abandoned” for more information.

The direct link to Schlarbaum’s current Kickstarter site is https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/663822964/abandoned-a-jennifer-malone-mystery.

“The best gift you can give, I think, is a good book you can pass to a good friend,” added Dopson.

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