Butterfly Book Nook opens as new community reading space
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Nearly 200 people filled the parking lot and community space behind the First African Church on King Street to open the Butterfly Book Nook and Garden, a new community gathering and storytelling space on King Street.
The idea of redoing the once closed off and neglected space came from Kim Williams Odom, a former Charleston County Public Library librarian, and Rev. Tyrone Dash. Together, they asked Enough Pie for help planning and building a garden where members of the North Central neighborhood, patrons of the Dart Library, and churchgoers could gather to tell stories and read books in a natural space. That kicked off a two-year plan involving Enough Pie, Historic Charleston Foundation, Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation for Literacy and Civic Engagement, Celie Dailey, Artist & Craftsman, REDUX Contemporary Art Center, Keep Charleston Beautiful, John L. Dart Library and CCPL, REMARK, The Boeing Company, and First African Church.
"It's been a wonderful community effort with residents and other nonprofits and folks interested in taking this land that was, you know, completely surrounded by barbed wire fence and turning it into a space where people could come together and read and enjoy storytime together with librarians from the Dart Library, and with teachers from First African Childhood Development Center. It's a place for people to just grab a book from the free little library and sit in a chair under a tree in the shade and just read and be." said Cathryn Davis Zommer, the Executive Director of Enough Pie.
"It's important that there are community spaces where people can gather, where we can come together, where we don't have to pay money, where we can just be neighbors. And so the Butterfly Book Nook was conceived with that idea and we're really excited to kick it off today," Zommer added.
Odom, who spoke at the dedication ceremony on Saturday, said the inspiration for the reading garden came from her longtime friend and fellow librarian, Cynthia Graham Hurd. Hurd was one of nine people killed in June 2015 when a gunman entered Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston and opened fire during a Bible study session there.
The storytelling pavilion was christened on Saturday as well with a storytelling session with Julian Gooding, a local storyteller and librarian at Dart Library.
Now that the Butterfly Book Nook is open, community members will keep it going with regular gardening sessions every other Saturday. And on Tuesdays through November, the space will host Soup and Storytelling sessions starting at 5:30 p.m. Grab a free bowl of soup and a seat to hear entertaining and funny stories from local storytellers.