If you’re looking for something new to read while sunning on Belmar beach, stop by one of the Little Free Library boxes in Pyanoe Plaza, on Ocean Avenue, or in a nearby neighborhood.
There, you’ll find a diverse selection of paperbacks and hardcover books – yours to take free of charge. You're also welcome to drop your surplus books in one of the hand-crafted boxes, as the Little Library is also intended to serve as a community book exchange. “Take a book. Share a book,” is the Little Free Library motto.
According to the Little Free Library website, “Our mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries. Our vision is a Little Free Library in every community and a book for every reader. We believe all people are empowered when the opportunity to discover a personally relevant book to read is not limited by time, space, or privilege.”
The first Little Free Library was constructed in 2009 by Hudson, Wisconsin, resident Todd Bol as a tribute to his teacher mother. Over the years, Little Free Library has grown into a global nonprofit organization with over 125,000 library boxes in more than countries. Over 42 million books are exchanged and shared annually.
“My little library has ‘PEACE’ in many languages, surrounded by the sun, the moon, the stars in the sky,” says Belmar resident Merry Brennan, who is a Belmar Free Little Library steward on 11th Avenue. “It's a message that brings smiles to the many tourists who stop to borrow a book on their way to the beach in the summer and to dozens of kids who walk by on their way to school the rest of the year. I've even gotten little notes of thanks from some of my returning visitors!”
In March 2022, Little Free Library launched a mobile app to help visitors find registered library boxes in their area via an interactive Google map. The app has some pretty neat features in addition to the map locator, such as the ability to “check in” at your library stops and keep a list of Little Libraries that you have visited. You also can add Little Libraries to your “favorites” list and leave messages for the Little Library stewards that maintain the book-sharing boxes under their care.
The steward of the Little Free Library at 32216th Avenue shares her motivation for getting involved: "I'm a bibliophile and have shared my love of books in various ways, often purposely leaving a book behind in random cities and countries. A Little Free Library has been on my bucket list for many years. This year, a dear friend, handcrafted a Little Library as my birthday/Christmas present. We live in a small New Jersey beach town and our house is on an often-traveled path to the beach. I hope to encourage beach reading with our library. It will contain books for adults and children. Please visit."
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Little Free Library Locations Around Belmar
5th Avenue Free Little Library
Ocean Avenue and 5th Avenue in front of Taylor Pavilion
Merry Brennan’s Little Free Library 404 11th Avenue
Belmar, New Jersey 07719
Bella’s Little Free Library 1103 E Street Belmar, New Jersey 07719
Starfish Library 207 16th Avenue Belmar, New Jersey 07719 16th Avenue Little Free Library 322 16th Avenue
Belmar, New Jersey 07719 16th and Ocean Avenues Little Free Library Ocean Avenue and 16th Avenue Beach
Belmar, New Jersey 07719
Pyanoe Plaza Little Free Library
Downtown Belmar at 9th Avenue (near Brandl Restaurant) Belmar, New Jersey 07719
10th Avenue Little Free Library
Ocean Avenue and 10th Avenue (near Howard Rowland Pavilion)
Belmar, New Jersey 07719
Belmar Marina Free Little Library
Located at the South Comfort Station
Maclearie Park Free Little Library
Near the tennis courts
12th Avenue Free Little Library
12th Avenue and Main Street near the War Memorials
Candide’s Garden Little Free Library 513 18th Avenue
Lake Como, New Jersey 07719
Debi’s Little Free Library Ocean Avenue an Lincoln Avenue
Avon by the Sea, New Jersey
Fran Torra Memorial Library Atlantic Avenue Spring Lake, New Jersey
Bradley Beach Little Free Library 511 Fourth Avenue
Bradley Beach, New Jersey
Lisa Luke Little Free Library 2 Ocean Avenue
Sea Girt, New Jersey
Troop 33 Little Free Library
2539 Belmar Boulevard Wall, New Jersey 07719
Live Like A Local: Rent A Belmar Beach House
Day trips down the shore are fun, but it's even better to rent a beach house for the week to experience everything wonderful about the Belmar area. For couples, solo adults and small families, the two-bedroom Blue Hydrangea Cottage rental in Belmar, New Jersey, is the perfect getaway place. The home sleeps up to four people and is consistently rated five stars for cleanliness, amenities and location. Learn more at www.vacationinbelmar.com.
Story and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of www.VacationInBelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.
RELATED: Visit Belmar, New Jersey