Webster family puts a puzzling twist on their Little Free Library

10 Mar

Plenty of Little Free Libraries have popped up in Webster, those mini libraries packed with books and magazines free for the taking. But I recently discovered one that’s different from any other you’ll see — maybe anywhere. That’s because it’s stuffed with puzzles, not books.

The Puzzle Exchange, located at 1440 Plank Rd., is the brainchild of Brian Roode, his wife Janine, and kids Simon and Lucy. They came up with the idea early on in the pandemic as a way to share their love of jigsaw puzzles with a larger audience.

“We were at home so much, doing puzzles,” Brian said. “We were doing a lot of trading of puzzles back and forth with a few different families. We said, why not make someplace where lots of people can enjoy the puzzles?”

So about a year ago they erected their Puzzle Exchange, basically a Little Free Library for puzzles. The library compartment is surprisingly spacious; in one photo on the Puzzle Exchange Facebook page, I counted a dozen puzzles stuffed inside. And the box is marked with a handsome flag, emblazoned with a puzzle piece, so it’s kind of hard to miss when you’re driving by on Plank Rd.

All the family members pitch in to check it regularly and keep it stocked, and over the winter everyone helped shovel snow to maintain a clear path to the street.

The Exchange has clearly been a hit. When they first put it up, they started out with just two or three puzzles. But since then, word has spread enough that the collection has populated itself quite nicely, so much so that the Roodes have had to put a large tote near the box to handle the overflow.

“There’s a few people a day that stop and hit it,” Brian said. “The puzzles usually change over pretty quickly. There’s a range of adult puzzles and kid puzzles and little kid puzzles, like 10 pieces.”

Being puzzle stewards has been so much fun for the Roode family that they’re even thinking of branching out and doing a game exchange.

Stay tuned.

The Puzzle Exchange is an officially registered Little Free Library. You’ll find it at 1440 Plank Rd., between Fairport Nine Mile Point Rd. (Rt. 250) and Harris Rd. Look for the flag! To stay up to date on the puzzles you might find inside, follow the Puzzle Exchange Facebook page.

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