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NPR resident builds free TARDIS library

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Published:   |   Updated: March 28, 2014 at 03:13 PM

NEW PORT RICHEY — Many people turn to crowdfunding website Kickstarter to bring their projects to life. Comic books, music videos, board games and new technology are just some of the projects people can donate money to and also to earn rewards.

Instead of creating a project to benefit herself, New Port Richey resident Jennifer Patt wanted to give back to her community by sharing her love of books and the 50-year-old British science fiction series “Doctor Who.”

“I’m a huge ‘Doctor Who’ fan,” Patt said. “It’s all about fantasy, time travel and adventure, which goes with books.”

Patt’s idea was to contribute to a huge network of “Free Little Libraries” all over the world that operate under a simple objective: “Take a book, leave a book.” With Kickstarter, she raised nearly $1,200 with a starting goal of $450 to build from scratch a small-scale version of the TARDIS, the space-time travel machine that the mysterious Doctor, an alien from the planet Gallifrey, uses. The TARDIS is known for looking like a 1960s British police telephone box and for being “bigger on the inside.”

“Books are powered by imagination,” Patt wrote on her Kickstarter intro video describing the project. “They can take us to the past, present, future or to whole new wolds of fantasy and adventure. This small box really is bigger on the inside because it can hold thousands of worlds and take readers on a limitless journey.”

“It’s a glorified book swap,” Patt said. “There are no late fees and you don’t have the bring the same book back if you don’t want to. The library will always be cycling through so you can come back and see something new. If it starts to get a little bit low I’ll add more to it.”

The library holds around 50 books and will be unveiled at a grand opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, at Patt’s home at 6528 Basil Lane. The library was designed by Patt and built by her father at his home in Palm Harbor, then transported to New Port Richey and cemented into a reading area Patt and her family created in the front yard.

The front of the wooden box holds books and the back, which opens separately, will contain items for “geocaching,” an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache container hidden at that location.

“The info will be listed on Geocaching.com so that players can discover the library cache, sign their name on the found log and also participate by swapping books in the library,” Patt said. “Many travelers from other states and countries love to visit unique caches while in town.”

One of the rewards for the Kickstarter campaign for those who donated $35 or more to be assigned a geocaching “travel bug,” a trackable tag that you attach to an item. to track through Geocaching.com. The item becomes a hitchhiker that is carried from cache to cache, or person to person, in the real world and you can follow its progress online.

Donors who gave $25 or more got their favorite book added to the library with their name on a label inside it. $50 or more got donors their name engraved on a plague that will hang inside the library.

“I had people all the way from Australia donating and they’ll never see it in person,” Patt said. “I was really touched.”

The library is filled with everything from cookbooks and history texts to autobiographies and fiction, Pratt said. She contributed two of her favorite books, “The Book of Three” by Lloyd Alexander and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. Adams wrote several Doctor Who” episodes.

Part of the Kickstarter fund will go to making the TARDIS Library an official member of the Little Free Library Network and getting it added to the worldwide map of Little Free Libraries.

“The community is in charge of what they want to see and share with one another,” Patt said. “The TARDIS is just the vessel for them to explore it with.”

You can follow Daylina Miller on Twitter at @DaylinaMiller.

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