Our ever-working Slow Roll Squad has built and installed two more little lending libraries, which will be seen along the route of our Fruit Belt Block Party Ride this coming Monday, August 6th, starting at 6:30pm sharp from the corner of Mulberry & Carlton. 

Our squad of some 130 volunteers includes two librarians and many more lovers of both literacy and philanthropy; Sweep Captain Renee Tarrant leads our little lending library initiative, for which we’ve now built and installed five around the City of Buffalo, with one more to come this summer.

According to a study referenced by the Little Free Library, “children growing up in homes without books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books, even when controlled for other key factors.” We see little lending libraries as an extension of Slow Roll Buffalo’s mission to connect communities across borders with free and inclusive vehicles – be they bikes or books.

Our first three little lending libraries were placed at Kerns Avenue Bowling Center (163 Kerns), Seneca-Babcock Community Garden (Seneca & Babcock Streets), and PS 45 International School (141 Hoyt Street).

The first of our new newest libraries built and painted by Squad member Ray Lang is on Mulberry Street and dedicated in memory of our first fallen family member, Dawn McCarley, who lived on Mulberry before her untimely passing in 2017 due to cancer. “I first heard about Slow Roll on NPR and told Dawn we should go ride, but for the first week I had to work, so she went without me,” her husband and fellow Squad member Earl McCarley recalled as her library was being installed. “She came back and said, ‘It was amazing – I joined Squad.’ And now we’re family.”

Dawn still rides every Slow Roll in spirit, as we wear a sticker in her honor; now, we share our love and fellowship through a mutual love of literacy – the Dawn McCarley Little Lending Library is free and open to all, and already being enjoyed.

“As the mom of one of the neighborhood kids was trying to take our group photo, her soon-to-be-kindergartener son kept turning around to open the library,” said Renee. “When she asked him why he wouldn’t be still long enough for the photo to be taken, he said, ‘because I want to read a book!'”

The second Slow Roll little lending library installed last week is at 475 Virginia, at the request of regular rider Kathy Baumgartner, who through a silent auction at last year’s postseason fundraiser won the right to choose the public location within the city for it to be placed. “Within minutes, a mother and child came by and started looking through the box and took some children’s books,” Kathy said. “When we got back in town this morning it was mostly empty. When I went back outside to restock it, someone had already added a number of other books. It’s such a great addition to the neighborhood!”

Anyone is welcome to donate books directly into the libraries or by bringing them to our rides; to get further involved in this and any other Slow Roll initiative, contact slowrollbuffalo@gmail.com, or ask anyone in orange onsite!