Announcing Impact Library Recipients, November 2020

By Lexie Neeley

Congratulations to this month’s Impact Library recipients, and welcome to the Little Free Library family!

Little Free Library’s Impact Library Program provides no-cost Little Free Library book exchanges to underserved communities where they can make a meaningful impact on book access and reading motivation.

Tyler Archer |  Nance Elementary School | St. Louis, MO 

Nance Elementary serves over three hundred students in the Baden neighborhood of north Saint Louis City. Our school is a neighborhood school and 100% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch in this neighborhood. The vision of Nance Elementary is that our students will be empowered as change agents to make a positive impact on the world. Placing a Free Little Library at our school to serve the entire community will help provide books to our students and their families. During ongoing school closures and virtual learning, opportunities to provide books to our families and connect students to high quality literature has been made more difficult. A Free Little Library will help to ensure students always have a book and can count on their school to provide learning opportunities for them, while supplementing our school vision.

Shannon Clark | Academy of Little Achievers | Port Charlotte, FL 

We are a preschool of 100 students 85% are low income. Our community is mostly title 1 schools. We would love to offer this at our preschool as many of the people in our area do not have transportation but are within walking distance. Our plan is to keep it stocked with books as well as take home learning activities for the students. This program would mean the difference of parents reading to their children or not. Without access most of our families do not go out of their way. We believe that if it was available they would use it because the children would be excited about it!

Nicole Gardner | Blaney Elementary School | Elgin, SC 

Established in 1908, Elgin, S.C. is known for being “A small town with a big heart.” The town of Elgin is home to an estimated 1,500 residents. Blaney Elementary is considered “the heart of Elgin.” Over 50% of the student population has a free/reduced lunch status. The Spanish as a first language population is on the rise. Currently, the Kershaw County School District is offering face-to-face and virtual learning options. Blaney Elementary currently has 40% of its population learning virtually. Due to COVID 19, many students have limited access to books. A Little Free Library would allow students who are learning virtually the opportunity to safely choose books of choice to read at home. A study by Scholastic states, “Children of low income families on average have 4 children’s books at home and two-thirds of low income families have 0 books for children in the home.” It is our goal to provide books of all levels, genre, diversity, including unique cultures. Many students are not able to explore the world. It is our hope to bring the world to them, a Little Free Library would be a wonderful start.

Trixie Kioko-Kampts | Montclair, NJ 

I live in the South End of Montclair which, as you may know, is a racially, socioeconomically, and generationally diverse community with a blend of home-owners and renters. The people in this community live in a range of households including families that are nuclear, blended, intergenerational, same-sex couples, inter-racial, new to the community and born and raised. With Covid restrictions impacting how our local library usually functions and schools closed, this Little Free Library will be a small and sweet extension of our local library and can act as a neighborhood hub for all of us. As the weather draws closer to winter when folks find themselves more insulated, the South End needs a Little Free Library. It can be someone’s inspiration to take a walk, a meeting place, or simply a little beauty and connection in the community during this difficult time.

Jessica Lonsinger | Coshocton, OH 

Coshocton is a small, rural Appalachian town. This library would be located in a walkable neighborhood, where many senior citizens and young families walk, near an Elementary, Jr. High and High School. Its location would make it perfect to serve readers of all ages. It would benefit our town because it would encourage literacy and an excitement for reading. Ours is an area of low socioeconomic status, but strong family values. I believe that people would be excited and encouraged by the addition of a Little Free Library and that it would be well used. It would also be well stocked, as I am and have been a literacy teacher in our community for over a decade. I have already an extensive personal and professional library of books for all ages, interests and levels that I very much look forward to sharing. I love reading and know first hand its value. I know how much books can enrich the lives of their readers and would love an opportunity to share this with those who may not otherwise have had access.

Emily Posner | New Orleans, LA 

My immediate neighborhood (five surrounding blocks) is generally a low income working class neighborhood. We are at the very edge of the City of New Orleans with limited public transportation. Our community’s children are bussed all over the city because of charter schools and the library is only open right now if you make an appointment online for a 45 minute slot due to Covid-19. The resources here are very limited. Our city’s working class relies heavily on the restaurant and tourism industry both of which have been heavily impacted by Covid-19 causing very high unemployment. Many of my adult neighbors don’t have cars and walk past our house to the house. All the kids in the neighborhood walk past our house to catch the school bus. So I believe the library will be heavily used.

Amanda Purcell | Fort Belvoir, VA 

We live on a military base with all of the branches of military on our base. We would love to set one of these up for all of our thousands of kids on the base to use. The only catch is we would take it with us to a new base if we moved. Or we would leave it and reapply for a new one once we got to a new base. We also live on a base that has a title one school. Our base needs something like this, right now we all have bins of books sitting out that get ruined because of wind and rain. This would be used all the time by the kids on base.

Tia Patrick | Memphis, TN 

My community is the second historically African American community in the United States. After desegregation, busing, white flight, red lining and the drug boom and mass incarceration this once thriving community is impoverished with few homeowners. All community schools are Title one schools. Looking at the little library map you will see that all the communities surrounding my address light up while nothing is to be found within a comfortable walking distance of the adults and children here. This library would serve this overlooked community of adults and children and is the ideal location considering it is mostly a pedestrian community. My address is on a thoroughfare for foot traffic. It would be a blessing. I will give neighbor kids books that my children out grow but it doesn’t address the adults that may also want to read. There is a lower reading proficiency and the community schools are all testing under state and national scores. What a gift a little library would be for the Orange Mound community!!!

Sara Thomas | Midland ISD | Midland, TX 

I am a librarian at a school called Rusk Elementary in Midland, TX. This is a relatively small school (about 400 students) that serves many locally located students, so we do not have many that take a bus to get here and most live within walking distance. Our school is a Title 1 campus, and the 18-19 school report card indicated that 50% of our population is economically disadvantaged. 16% are English Language Learners and 8% are classified as Special Education. During the summer months, and especially when COVID19 hit and schools were closed, students do not have easy access to books to read unless they have a ride to the local public library or have the funds to purchase books. Unfortunately, most students’ have parents who work full time and cannot give them rides to the public library. Many of the families also do not have excess funds to spend on books. As I was brainstorming ways to make books accessible to these students, I came across the Little Free Library. If I had a Free Little Library that I could stock with books, the students would be within walking distance of their next, great read!

Grace Szakin | Portfolio Resident Services | Arlington, TX 

The community is a low income, multi-family property. There are numerous children at the property who love to read and who often come to the center to read the books there. With the Little Free Library, kids will be able to read regardless of the time and day. They also will be able to experience new books as people exchange the books at their home. Furthermore, this will help connect families in the community. I am the resident services coordinator for this property and I support this community through events and services. I often receive book donations and I have a large section of books that I will be able to add to the library as needed. I also will be able to incorporate my events with the Little Free Library neighbored activities.

Anna Zauner | AmeriCorps | Sitka, AK 

Sitka is a small community of 9,000 residents, on an island in Southeast AK. The land is of the Tlingit people who have been on this land for over 10,000 years. The Little Free Library will be serving the native Tlingit population and others living around the apartment complex where this library will be placed. Many families are working class and do not have time to take their children to the one library on the island. This little library would help families have easy access to books and serve a diverse population that makes up the community of Sitka. The community of Sitka is a part of the imagination library, therefore there is always a flow of books in the community but once the books are outgrown many are given to the local thrift-stores or returned to the school district. As someone working in the school district we are constantly looking for good places to keep these books to give to families who usually would not have access to these books. The Little Free Library would be a great place to maintain this flow of book we have in the community.

Amanda Cone | Amistad Elementary School | Kennewick, WA 

Amistad Elementary is a Title 1 focus school.  It is the largest elementary school in the district and supports upwards of 750 students. 40% of the students are migrant students and there is a 40% mobility rate for all students, and we have 60 McKinney-Vento students who either live doubled up (2 families living in the same household) or tripled up.  The school’s demographics include 80% Hispanic students and a 50% mobility rate for all students.  We have a dual one-way language program for bilingual students to maintain fluency in their native language as they learn English. Our school provides 100% free and reduced lunch.  Amistad is the largest elementary school in the Kennewick school district and supports upwards of 750 students. It is a large property and accessible on both sides from two busy streets, 4th Avenue and Kennewick Avenue.  Each street has bus stops that are a block or less away from the campus.  Our campus is also surrounded by low-income housing and multiple apartment complexes.  Many of the community members do not have private transportation and rely on public transit.  The nearest branch of the local library, Mid-Columbia Libraries, is a mile away with the main branch located three miles away.

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