By: Melanie Williamson
If you have driven down Berkley Road in Vermilion-on-the-Lake this past week, you may have noticed a new addition at the corner of Berkley and Mornington Roads. VOL now has its own Free Little Library thanks to the hard work and dedication of a local student and her family.
Mariska O’Neil, a Mornington Road resident and sixth grader at Sailorway Middle School built the Free Little Library with her dad, and they put it up in their yard facing Berkley Road. O’Neil then filled it with books from her own collection to get it started. She stated, “I have nearly a million books, so I filled it with ones I don’t need much anymore.”
O’Neil shared that she first saw a Free Little Library while visiting relatives in West Virginia when she was nine years old. With a personal passionate for reading, she was immediately attracted to the idea.
Her mom, Delilah O’Neil, shared that when they looked into what it would take to build one, it was a bit expensive, so she went around to local businesses to see if any would help with supplies. Both Mariska and her mom were excited and thankful when Pizza Galley in Vermilion offered to help.
With all the needed supplies, Mariska went to work. She said her dad did the sawing and hammering but she was right there with him holding the pieces in place and putting it together. Once it was built, she picked out the color green and stained it before it was installed in their yard.
When asked, O’Neil said, “My hope is that people in VOL will see it and come to it and use it.” Deliah O’Neil stated that she shared a photo of it on Facebook inviting people to use it, and she was very happy with the positive response they’ve received so far.