News / USA

Little Free Libraries Promote Love of Books

Liitle Free Libraries Share Love of Booksi
X
May 24, 2013 2:03 PM
Little wooden boxes shaped like birdhouses are popping up on street corners across the United States and around the world. They’re not to nurture birds, but brains. Individuals or groups of neighbors create, stock and restock these little libraries for whoever needs a book to read. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the little free libraries have a mission; sharing the love of reading and building a strong community. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Liitle Free Libraries Share Love of Books

Faiza Elmasry
What looks like a little red birdhouse with a pitched roof sits on a post outside Centreville Elementary School in Virginia, attracting a lot of attention. But there are no birds inside.

The wooden box contains about two dozen children’s books. Any child in the community who wants to read is welcome to pick one.

Promoting love of reading

This little free library was built as a service project by a group of young Girl Scouts at the school.

“It was kind of a challenge,” said Kyra Gosney, one of the scouts. "We had to paint it. We had to attach everything together.”

For Isabella Sursi, it was a learning experience.

“We had to make sure we knew what we were doing," Sursi said. "And we had to discuss the details before we actually did anything with it.”

Her mother, Stephanie Sursi, says - even in this relatively wealthy community - the library serves a purpose.

“There are still children whose parents work two jobs or don’t take them to the library or who simply don’t think of books as presents.”

The girls have collected more than 400 books so far, so they can make sure there is always a wide variety of material in their little library. School librarian Sheri D’Amato monitors what’s placed inside to make sure the books are appropriate for the kids and their reading levels.

“We want kids to have access to books all the time. The school library is not always open," said D'Amato. "We’re not here on the weekend; we’re done by about 4:10 each day. And the public library is not open all the time. These little libraries are always open. You don’t need a card. You don’t need any money.”

Unexpected places

These little free libraries can be found all over, even in unexpected places. To share her love of reading, Kristen Brabrook created one in the bakery she manages in Reston, Virginia.

“I am a huge book lover," she said. "I own more books than individual pieces of clothing.”

When she read an article about free little libraries, she knew she wanted one.

“I live in an apartment building," Brabrook said. "So I wasn’t really able to do that, but I thought we could bring it into the store.”

She continues to buy books in order to keep her library fresh and appealing.

“People come in, usually, for cupcakes," Brabrook said. "They'll see the library. They always ask if it costs something, and we say, ‘No, help yourself, please take it.’”

One of the shop’s regular customers, Collin Chartier likes the idea. “I think it’s nice. It’s not necessary, but it kind of makes the atmosphere a little bit better.”

Little free libraries

The idea behind the little free libraries was born three years ago in Hudson, Wisconsin, when former teacher and book lover built a miniature model of a library.

“I originally built a library to honor my mother," said Todd Bol. "I built one and put in out in the front yard and never planned on building another one.”

But his neighbors loved the little wooden box with the books, and that inspired him to set up the Little Free Library Organization to spread the idea. There are now more than 2500 little libraries across the US and beyond.

“We’ve been called by the Huffington Post 'a growing international phenomenon,'” Bol said.

Getting young people excited about the concept keeps the trend growing.

Kendall Claar, who built Centreville Elementary’s little free library with her friends, says she will miss it next year, when she’s in middle school.

“It’s good to know there’s always going to be a piece of me here for me to like be remembered by,” she said.

And that's a happy ending, in any book.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid