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New Little Free Library in Chili

By Sharon Breeze

On Sunday, August 9, 2020, a special gathering was held outside the First Presbyterian Church of Chili, 3600 Chili Ave., to celebrate the dedication of the church’s newest addition - “A Little Free Library.” The date of August 9th was selected as it was the birthday of the person in whose memory we were dedicating the “little library:” Melvin L. Olver, a long-time member of the church, community, and an avid reader.

Mel’s wife Eileen “Neen,” his daughter Kristin, grandchildren Mattie and Carter, and many friends were present for the special dedication service. Mel’s son, Matt, who traveled from Ohio with his family, was watching it virtually at the Olver home in Chili due to travel restrictions from COVID-19 which prevented him from attending in person.

The ceremony began with a prayer by Pastor Brandi Wooten, followed by a brief history of “Little Free Libraries” presented by Sue Johnson. Here is a brief summary regarding the Little Free Library:

Little Free Library is a nonprofit whose goal is to inspire a love of reading and a sense of community through the constant exchange of books. Take a Book -- share a Book is their motto. In fact, this organization just celebrated its 10th anniversary on May 2019. These little Free Library book-sharing boxes play an essential role by providing 24/7 access to books especially in areas where reading material is scarce. All 50 states of the United States have Little Free Libraries and over 100 countries in the world are served by Little Free Libraries.

Our registration to this organization has allowed us to put our library on their world map. To find the First Presbyterian Church of Chili’s Little Free Library, go to the website (, and then click on the world map. Next, simply use our zip code (14624) as a filter to locate our library. We have pictures of the library on the map as well as a few short sentences about its dedication to Mel Olver and its purpose in our community.

Following the history of “little libraries,” highlights of Mel’s life were shared. Some of those highlights included Mel’s work for many years as a lawyer, his serving as an attorney for the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley, actively serving in local government and community organizations, and Justice for the Town of Chili for 29 years. Mel was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He also had a wonderful voice and shared that talent many times at our church.

Please come visit our “little library,” and “take a book and share a book.” The shelves are marked with fiction, nonfiction, young teen and childrens. We look forward to having you visit!

If you have any questions or comments, please call the church office at 889-9896 Tuesday-Thursday between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. If no one is available to answer your call, please leave a message.

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