Wednesday, November 29 2017 14:57

Building Community with the Neighborhood Sharing Library from Simplay3

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My wife and I have been intrigued by the idea of a neighborhood library for awhile - an interest piqued by the growing Little Free Library movement. Perhaps you've seen them around - little boxes or buildings placed in a yard, each encouraging neighbors to take a book or leave a book for their neighbors to enjoy. Until now, those libraries were either built buy their caretakers or ordered from craftsman - but for inexperienced builders such as myself, none were really simple or affordable enough to make me pull the trigger. Then came some news out of Ohio that the team at The Simplay3 Company were working on a solution - a simpler option "for folks wanting to make a positive impact in their community." Their new Simplay3 Sharing Library is the end result of designers who found themselves inspired by the Little Free Library movement and wanted to get them into as many neighborhoods as possible.

Now if you're not familiar with The Simplay3 Company, but it sounds a little familiar... it should, and I'll explain why. It's a new company - the third company - from founder Tom Murdough, the man who founded Little Tikes and The Step2 Company. After selling Step2 back in 2007 and retiring, Murdough realized that he wasn't content to just sit back and relax. He wanted to get back into making quality products for kids and grownups alike - products "Made in America by American workers." He got back in the game, and he started a new company in the same town as his last one - and he staffed it with some familiar faces from his past.

Simplay3 Sharing Library Review

Simplay3 sent us a Sharing Library for review, and quite simply, we love it. I installed it last Friday (it goes over the top of a 48" 4x4 post with 26" below ground/22" above) and got to work in stocking up. The design looks great - similar in quality and and design to their mailboxes, but with a look the mirrors a little house. There's a clear plexiglass window that allows passers-by to get a glimpse inside, and the easy-open door is held by a magnetic catch.

Simplay3 Sharing Library Review

We've decided to do our best to keep it stocked with a mix of books for all ages - from little kids to tweens, teens and grownups. One week in, and the library is starting to see some use. I used our neighborhood Facebook group (which I created and administer) to alert our friends about the new Sharing Library. Immediately, those walking their dogs or out with their kids started to take notice. And every morning before school, our girls take a look to see if any books have been removed or added.

Simplay3 Sharing Library Review

While I haven't yet registered our library as a "charter" for the Little Free Library movement (which is an organized nonprofit), I might. For now I'm just digging seeing the neighbors take notice as they share their love of books with one another.

The Simplay3 Sharing Library is available now, direct from the official website or through Amazon.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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