Bluefield University unveiled a little free library on Friday, April 28, in memory of Caitlyn Victoria Gable. A rising junior and Rams softball player from Midland, NC, Caitlyn passed away peacefully in her sleep in August.
The little free library will be placed on the BU campus outside Easley Library after a paint sealer is applied. It will face College Avenue for access by students and community members. A plaque will be added that reads “In Memory of Caitlyn Gable” with a quote from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: “When in doubt, go to the library.”
“Caitlyn lived her life while following her dreams, trying to figure out her path, and making her choices. She lived her life boldly,” said Paula Beasley, co-director of library services at BU and Caitlyn’s former supervisor. “We are remembering her today because she lived her life well through work and play. We are placing a little free library at Bluefield University in her memory because she loved reading and loved being helpful to others. She loved being part of a team. She made her mark on this campus and in our lives.”
BU’s Director of Counseling Services, Emily Cook, organized the dedication ceremony held in Easley Library. She concluded her heartfelt remarks about Caitlyn by saying, “Just being able to be a tiny piece of her story—I’m very grateful because she’s definitely a piece of mine.”
Many of Caitlyn’s relatives attended the ceremony in person and virtually. Her mother, Jessica Williams, thanked Bluefield University for welcoming Caitlyn into the Rams family and honoring her memory.
“We had many conversations about how important it was being here with people that understood her, looked out for her, accepted her with all her quirks and all of her differences. Her uniqueness was valued. I surely appreciate you guys giving her specifically this safe space to be herself, and she loved being here,” she shared.
The little free library depicts scenes from three of Caitlyn’s favorite book series: Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
“The theme amongst the three are doorways because that’s what reading is as a hobby for those that enjoy it,” said student Mark Clary, who painted the little free library. “It’s a path out of where you’re at right now into some other kind of adventure.”
Additional students made remarks about Caitlyn and her impact on the Rams community. Macy Martin shared that Caitlyn was a shining example of learning to “love the small things in life.” Michael Vichiola, who often saw Caitlyn in Easley Library, said it was easy to tell “she was one special person.”
“One of the things I’ve always valued is celebrating the whole student-athlete. A lot has been said about Caitlyn as a softball player, but I think getting to know this part of Caitlyn—her love for reading, her love for books, her love for the library and the people that she worked with here—is something special,” said Director of Athletics Corey Mullins. “It’s important for us to celebrate that and recognize the full dimensions of who she was as a person. Hopefully, this little free library will continue to rekindle the memory of her time here on campus as people ask about it and its significance to our campus and to our student body.”
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