Retired Prince William County Schools librarian turned winemaker gets library of his own

From an email: 

Those familiar with “Little Free Libraries” won’t be nearly as surprised by this media release as retired librarian Jim Livingston was.  Jim and his wife Bev travelled recently for a few days, and were shocked that a library had taken up residence on Hartwood Winery’s property, when they returned from their short trip. 

The wonderful neighbors who live next door built a beautiful miniature red barn and filled it with books as a Christmas present to their neighbors, the Livingstons. Connie Hilker, and her husband Steve, live in the historic home next door. Connie often says of the Livingstons, “They are family we were privileged to choose for ourselves.  Jim is a retired school librarian … and I knew exactly what we could do for him as a big Christmas surprise.  A librarian needs to have a library, so we built him a Little Free Library of his very own!”

The Hilkers construction of the adorable little red barn library was made, nearly exclusively, from spare materials they had from other projects.  The entire construction process was lovingly documented on Connie’s Hartwood Roses blog found at

Jim and Bev were both formerly with the Prince William County Public School System.  Jim was a librarian for several decades.  They were devoted to their students and are “life-long students and educators.”  He constantly reminds his winery guests, “As a librarian you don’t need to know how to DO anything, because you can research it and learn it.” 

Jim Livingston adds, “These neighbors have always been some of our favorite people.  We are always eager to help each other and love each other like family.  But the gift of “my own library” takes the cake!”

Connie and Steve relished surprising Jim and Bev.  They added the final touch, a sparkling Deer Christmas ornament, which matches the Hartwood Logo.  The name of the winery “Hartwood” is taken from “Hart”, the Old English word for deer.  An abundance of deer remain in the Hartwood area. 

There are several Little Free Libraries in the area.  The organization is described on their website as, “A Little Free Library is a ‘take a book, return a book’ free book exchange. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share.  Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.”  Map of Little Free Library locations – 

As of the time this information was provided to the public, this little free library is the only one in the 22406 zip code.  Visit the library and the winery, Wednesday-Sundays. 


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