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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs