Today I am joining up with a new tribe of friends and we are pow-wowing about Little Free Libraries (LFL) in our lives. Michael Ann in Georgia at Out and Back, Karla in Idaho at Roads to Everywhere, Sheila in Florida at Making the Most of Every Day are all sharing stories about Little Free Libraries today.
I talked about my first LFL with you recently, here. This past school year, I set up a second LFL as a kind of tribute. The former librarian at the elementary school where I was subbing had retired under the worst of circumstances. Upon the death of her daughter after losing her son several years earlier. I worked at Guerrero Elementary not as a replacement for their beloved librarian Mary but just to hold the fort down in the library until a full time librarian could be hired.
My reasons for a rather sudden retirement from Moye in 2013 paled in comparison. I couldn’t imagine Mary’s heartache. She not only lost a second child but had to walk away from a school where she had worked for years. The faculty, staff and students at Guerrero were like her extended family. And they felt the same way about her. I wanted to do something to keep her memory alive in the library she had loved so much.
I contacted my friend Lisa Lopez Williamson who had introduced El Paso to Little Free Libraries several years ago. She had donated an LFL to Moye after bringing the first one in the city to her campus, Zavala Elementary. Lisa made arrangements with the Wood Workers Club of El Paso for the donation of a Little Free Library to Guerrero.
I bribed PC to go with me to pick up the library when it was ready.
The wood shop was an interesting place.
Kind of like an extension of Santa’s workshop manned by giant wood-crafting elves.
Along with the toy helicopters, airplanes and automobiles, there were Little Free Libraries. And information promoting them.
That’s Lisa in the photo above sitting in front of the first LFL in El Paso. The map above shows the location of all of the Little Free Libraries in El Paso as of fall 2015.
See the LFLs above this closet? And the poster-thank you note for the wood workers from the children at Coldwell Elementary.
We loaded up the Little Free Library into my Altima and I delivered it to school the following Monday.
I talked with the teachers and students at Guerrero about my plans to create a tribute to their former librarian with the Little Free Library. I asked for their input about painting the library and where to put it once it was ready to go. One of the teachers, Laura, also a close friend to Mary, texted our plans to the former librarian. Mary seemed touched.
Laura shared that Mary was particularly fond of the Disney dog Pluto. She made arrangements to have the LFL painted by high school art students in the feeder pattern with Guerrero Elementary. Franklin High students who might have known and loved Mary in elementary school. And they did a beautiful job.
The little white wooden plaque is the official charter for this Little Free Library. The folks at LFL assign a number to each library making it an official Little Free Library.
Mary was the Guerrero teacher of the year and had plaques outside the door of the school library with that and her name on them. I wanted to add the plaques to the LFL tribute. So we did.
Finally, it was time to fill the Little Free Library and open it up to the students.
I am no longer subbing at Guerrero. They have a shiny new librarian to begin this new school year. I am hopeful that she will keep up the Little Free Library as an extension to the school library.
I had hoped that Mary would stop by the school last spring to visit the Little Free Library but her pain is still too fresh. Several teachers took pictures of the LFL and sent them to Mary. She responded to their messages for the first time since she had retired. So maybe in time, Mary will be able to return for a visit.
Little Free Libraries are wonderful gifts and make thoughtful tributes. If you are interested in learning more, please follow this link, here. Have you seen an LFL in your neighborhood or city? If so, I would love to see a picture! I am thinking about opening one at a neighborhood park down the street from my house. Would love to hear about your experiences with Little Free Libraries before I do. Please run by the blogs of my new friends to read about their experiences with Little Free Libraries. Just scroll back up for the links to their posts.
So glad you are out there, somewhere, taking time from your day to be here with me. Consider yourself hugged. Twice!
Hugs and kisses,