On Little Free Libraries

Several years ago, when I served as President of the PTA at our elementary school, my Vice President, friend, and neighbor, Jeannine Kannegiesser, came to me with a terrific idea. She asked if I’d noticed the little libraries popping up around town, along sidewalks, in neighborhoods. I had. They were adorable, every one different than the next. Jeannine’s idea was to bring a Little Free Library to the front of our Little School with the Big Heart. The Library would be available all year long, including summertime, and would specialize in children’s books.

As the plans for our Little Free Library came together, we were able to dovetail its dedication with honoring our beloved Librarian, Mrs. Carol Schoon, who would retire at the end of that year. A plaque commemorates the occasion for generations of children to come.

As we were forming our plans for our Little Free Library, I told my sister, Rebecca, who lives in Los Angeles. She is a reader and lover of literature. For several years, she served as the Director of the Family Literacy Program at Jane Addams Center in Chicago. She loves working with children and families to encourage the use of literature and reading materials in the home. I don’t recall if Rebecca had heard of Little Free Libraries before I spoke with her, but I do know that she was thrilled that our little school was installing one. And she began to develop a plan to install one in front of her own home.

Last year, Rebecca and her husband, Dave Taylor, installed a Little Free Library with a wonderful twist. Theirs is for both Spanish and English books and attracts lots of interest from their diverse Echo Park (Los Angeles) neighborhood.

Little Free Libraries are popping up all over the country. The following video features several in the Los Angeles area, including my sister’s. Enjoy!

http://www.kcet.org/shows/socal_connected/stories/society/little-free-libraries-take-a-book-return-a-book.html

If you’d like more information on how to plan, build, and install one yourself, check out the website: http://littlefreelibrary.org

If you’d like to hear more about what a Little Free Library might look like in a school setting, coordinating with a PTA, please let me know. I’d be glad to talk to you about our experience and put you in touch with some others who might also share their stories.

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