Along Key Parkway in Frederick, the little box sits almost unnoticed amongst the traffic zooming past.
With the lifting of a small metal latch, the box’s contents — books, perhaps two dozen of them — come into view.
The unassuming little box, which sits a few feet off the ground next to some basketball courts and a stormwater retention pond in the Taskers Chance neighborhood, does have one distinctive feature.
The front resembles one of the plasma collection machines from Grifols Plasma Operations, which is located in a shopping center across the street and whose employees created it through the Little Free Library organization to serve the community.
Little Free Library is a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that facilitates book exchanges around the world.
As of November 2016, there were more than 50,000 little free libraries registered in all 50 states and more than 70 countries, according to the organization’s website.
The employees at Grifols try to stock a good mix of books, about half adult and half children’s books, said Miranda Prather, an assistant center manager for the Frederick location.
The library is in an appropriate place, with the park and a bus stop nearby, Frederick Parks Superintendent Scott Geasey said.
The city gets a good bit of volunteer assistance in the parks, but this type of project was a bit unique, he said.
Prather said she’s an author herself, and books have always been a passion for her. She got the idea for making the library, and checked with people at work to see if they were interested in the project.
They were, and the design process began.
They collected about 500 books, and check every week or so to see if it needs to be restocked, Prather said.
People can take a book, and if they like it, they can keep it. If they’d like to donate, they can leave books of their own, Prather said.
Grifols has about 35 employees at its Frederick location, and all were involved in the library’s creation in some way or another, she said.
They started the design process in September, and collected books in October and November. The library was installed in the park in late November.