Today I am going to talk libraries with you; to be exact, Little Free Libraries. Have you heard of them? Maybe you’ve seen one in a park or outside of a public library building near you? They are usually small, wooden boxes of books where people are invited to take a book or bring a book to share with others.
I originally wrote this post for a guest post opportunity on my friend Katie’s blog. Check it out here. Because I love the idea of the Little Free Libraries, I decided to share the post here with you. Just in case you didn’t see it at The Mishaps and Mayhem of a Solitary Life.
The first Little Free Library (LFL) was the brain child of Todd Bol. In 2009, he built a wooden box painted like a one room school house to honor his mother, a teacher who loved to read.
The LFL was so popular among Bol’s friends and family, that he built a few more and gave them away. And the rest, as they say, is history. You can read more on the official Little Free Library website, here.
Fast forward to Zavala Elementary School, El Paso, Texas, fall 2011. My fellow elementary school librarian and sweet friend Lisa Lopez Williamson introduced the first LFL in the state of Texas.
Lisa spoke to all of our school district librarians about the success of the Zavala LFL and I was bitten by the bug. The demographics of the students at her school were very similar to those of my babies at H.R. Moye. Largely bilingual kids who spoke English as a second language. Living in low socio-economic circumstances where literacy and library usage are not always a priority.
When I contacted her for more information later that fall, Lisa offered to sponsor a Little Free Library for Moye. I met with her at the University of Texas, El Paso to complete the LFL stewardship paperwork and pick up my our library.
I was so excited to bring this opportunity to my sweet students. Our LFL was created from a cranberry crate. The white sign across the top of the crate is the official charter for this particular library. Each Little Free Library is registered with LFL , given an official charter sign and charter number. Stewards gain access to a network of benefits and are allowed to use the name Little Free Library once their library is registered.
Next, I introduced the LFL to my students. It was love at first sight. The children were excited to learn that our library would be the second LFL in the state of Texas.
I invited the third, fourth and fifth graders to create posters explaining the “take a book, leave a book” idea behind our LFL.
They did a fabulous job. And the posters created a buzz of excitement for our library.
Finally, it was time to put the library to use. I bought a little iron table for the LFL at Hobby Lobby. Then added a yard gnome who had always served as one of our shelf elves as created in the books by Jackie Hopkins.
And with that, the H.R. Moye Elementary School Little Free Library was open for business.
I moved the LFL out into the main lobby of the school so parents and our whole school community could easily access it.
I retired from Moye two years later but the Little Free Library is still there providing books to children who might not otherwise have a book they can call their ownLisa Lopez Williamson continues to do wonderful work spreading the word about Little Free Libraries here in El Paso. The El Paso Community Foundation has recently funded a grant that will enable Lisa to bring LFLs to other parts of the city. The education department at the University of Texas, El Paso, is in line to receive one. And another elementary school near Moye on the northeast side of town.
If you are interested in learning more about the Little Free Library, please follow this link for information.
Thank you for sharing a bit of your day with me. If you have seen a Little Free Library near you, please share a picture with me!
Hugs and kisses,