Little Free Library Comes To WEB Substation

Markeshia Ricks PhotoA budding center of the Whalley Avenue-Edgewood-Beaver Hills community will have one more reason for neighbors, particularly the tiniest ones, to stop by — a Little Free Library

The FBI New Haven Citizens Academy Alumni Association has donated a Little Free Library to the recently renovated WEB police substation on Whalley Avenue. The little blue box and its books are almost ready to welcome little readers.

Bob Caplan, who serves as the treasurer for the WEB management team and is vice president of the alumni association, and association Compliance Officer Robert Silvestri dropped the library off to WEB District Manger Sgt. John Wolcheski on Friday.

Caplan said that the alumni association, which does a lot of volunteer work with veterans and making presentations to schools about the work of the FBI and topics such as cyberbullying, plans to donate more Little Free Libraries across the state. It decided to start with the Whalley Avenue substation. The next one the association sponsors will be in Bridgeport.

“We picked the substation because we wanted to encourage public police interaction and have parents and their kids feel comfortable coming into the police substation, both to get their books and simply to interact with the police as they see fit,” Caplan said.

The newly renovated Whalley Avenue substation also is Caplan’s neighborhood substation. “I know the area and our particular substation is an active one,” he said. “Sgt. Wolcheski is very much into community involvement and community policing, and he saw this an appropriate fit for the mission that he has.”

Wolcheski said his plan is to have the little library mounted at the front of the substation, and to have one of his second shift walking beats keep it stocked. They’ll have some help from retired police detective and literacy advocate, Stacy Spell, who has between 50 and 75 books to help keep the library going.

“I’m going to give this to them as their assignment to keep it full,” he said. “If they see kids walking around they’ll ask them if they’d like to have a book. Like Shafiq was saying, once the word gets out it’s going to just explode.”

Shafiq is top Newhallville cop Sgt. Shafiq Abdussabur, who worked with neighbors to mount a Little Free Library at the substation on Winchester Avenue in November.

Wolcheski said since the renovation of the substation it has become the center of the neighborhood. Community groups like the management team and the Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter hold meetings there. People have even hosted birthday parties there for their children.

“It’s turning into a true community substation,” he said. ” With Bob bringing books in, it’s going to encourage people walking by to stop.”

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