A Hilliard resident says she wants to share reading opportunities with the community beyond the walls of the school where she is an educator and librarian.

A Hilliard resident says she wants to share reading opportunities with the community beyond the walls of the school where she is an educator and librarian.

Jill Merkle and her husband, Brian, purchased, installed and stocked a Little Free Library in their Lakewood subdivision.

They opened it Saturday, April 11.

The prefabricated Little Free Library structures -- obtained from the organization of the same name -- come in a variety of shapes and sizes, said Merkle, a media specialist at Darby Creek Elementary School.

The Merkles purchased a traditional wooden structure similar in appearance to a birdhouse.

The Merkles installed a bench next to it and bought or donated their own books.

The family has since received donations of books and anticipates those who use the library will leave books in place of those borrowed.

Jill Merkle made one addition to the library, installing a metal tag that reads: "In Memory of Denny Mantel."

"My father died last year," Merkle said. "He had a wonderful sense of community."

He was involved in the Optimist Club and other civic organizations near Dayton, she said.

"I thought, 'What can I do to impact my community and have a positive influence?' " Merkle said.

The Little Free Library box is in the southeast corner of Lakewood Park.

Merkle said she and her husband will drive by it daily and check inside it once a week.

"The Little Free Library works on the honor system," Merkle said.

Merkle said she would label the spines of the books but recommends parents always check books to ensure they are age appropriate.

Among those visiting the first day was Amanda Duncan and her 14-month-old daughter, Annie.

"This is really cool," said Duncan, who learned about the library on the Lakewood Homeowners Association's website.

Duncan selected a counting book for her daughter.

"I hope it will be used to keep kids reading," Merkle said.