Announcing Impact Library Recipients, February 2021

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.

Jennifer Quattrucci | Harry Kizirian Elementary | Providence, RI 

The students at Harry Kizirian and community members of the Chad Brown neighborhood. Our school serves the inner city students of Providence, RI, with 99% receiving welfare. They are wonderful people but it’s not easy for them to have books with all of the essential items they need to buy. This library would be taken care of by the wonderful faculty and staff at Harry Kizirian Elementary and for the entire community to share.

Alicia Cabassa | P.S. 5m Ellen Lurie School | New York, NY 

Our community is urban, low income, and made up of many new arrivals to this country. Many are afraid to obtain a library card due to their immigration status or do not utilize the library because of Covid-19 changes and online requirements. Having a designated space for book sharing will offer a resource to the community to encourage literacy in our school and neighborhood community. Often we have free resources to share, but the distribution of materials is difficult to coordinate. This Little Free Library would offer a space for information sharing as well as book circulation for our community members and would be a welcome element in our community to encourage reading.

Cameron Campbell | Salt Lake Mutual Aid | Salt Lake City, UT

This area has recently become an important community hub. It features murals honoring members of the community who have passed away. It has served as a meeting ground to distribute food and supplies to families and unsheltered people. Many of the people in the area are both low-income and people of color. In particular, this area has a large immigrant and hispanic population. It has significant foot traffic and we think this area would be a perfect location for a little library.

Michael Hallock | CARD Head Start | Catoosa, OK 

Community Action Resources and Development operates two Head Start centers in Catoosa, Oklahoma, serving predominantly low-income families and preschool-age children in our school-readiness and family support program. New families come into our program every year and one of our objectives for our children and their families is improved literacy. Much of Catoosa and the nearby town of Verdigris are low-income families, and the schools are all Title 1 (with the exception of Catoosa High School). The addition of a Little Free Library at our center would give greater access to literary materials for our families and the community and give our organization more visibility in our community; this would allow us to better serve more families in our community.

Melissa Kidd | Robbins, NC 

The area known as Spies is a rural community outside of Robbins. There are homes scattered between fields and trees. The location I have chosen for the Little Free Library is a small store where many in the area stop by for gas, snacks, and the latest information. The store serves as a free Wi-Fi hotspot provided by the local communications company as well as a location where several families receive free food provided from different sources. It is just over 7 miles from the town library. Seven miles doesn’t seem far, but there is no public transportation. By having the option to grab a book while stopping at the store an opportunity to read would be afforded to many children and adults in the community, especially since the local library is still closed to in person activity.

Hilary Mankofsky | Eugene, OR 

I’m looking to start a mobile bike powered Little Free Library that would serve people who live on the street. Eugene has one of the highest populations of people who are unhoused. People who live on the street don’t currently have access to books from the Public Library at all (COVID related), and during normal times they are not allowed to check out books. Books bring dignity, are life affirming and can transport you to another time and place. Everyone deserves to have access to books without barriers, and yet people who live on the streets don’t get that basic right. That needs to be changed. I want to bring this LFL to the park weekly to allow people to check out and return books (same time and place each week to avoid confusion), and to bring the books to the people instead of making them search out books. People who live on the street don’t necessarily have the time and resources to find a LFL. I’d like the ability to provide books and conversation about books to a population that deserves kindness and connection. Thanks for considering my creative request!

Laura Peña | Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy | Atlanta, GA 

My school serves amazing scholars in grades 6-12, we are a Title 1 all-girls public school nestled in the heart of Atlanta and 100% of our students are girls of color. Additionally, 100% of our scholars receive free lunch. Our school community is STEM-focused and it is our mission to disrupt the underrepresentation of women of color in STEM. We strongly believe in bettering our community through STEM initiatives like our school garden, farm-to-table parent initiative, quail farm, and honey bee learning center which strive to alleviate the negative effects of living in a food desert. Our students, families, and community members would utilize the Little Free Library. Books are windows and mirrors! I really hope that we can stock our Little Free Library with books featuring BIPOC authors and characters so that our scholars can see themselves reflected in the pages of the books. Our school is currently closed due to the pandemic, students are unable to access the school library and are limited in checking out library books. A Little Free Library is a safe way to engage our school community with a love of literacy.

Amanda Randall | Transitions | Spokane, WA

Home Yard Cottages is part of the Transitional Living Center (TLC) campus. Transitions and TLC work to end poverty and homelessness for women and children in Spokane. Home Yard Cottages provide studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom affordable permanent supportive housing for homeless families. Home Yard Cottages (HYC) currently houses 33 adults and 32 children. HYC residents make below 30% Area Median Income (AMI). 21% of residents in the neighborhood surrounding TLC live below the poverty level. All public libraries (and most public schools) in this area have been closed since March 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income families who cannot afford to buy new books have gone without for almost a year. A collection of books have been available at the Home Yard Cottages community room, however, due to concerns regarding COVID-19 and staffing limitations, access to the books has been very limited over the past year.

Daphne Schlick | Beverly Hills, MI 

This community has been hit hard by COVID. Several people on the street have passed and the community’s morale is low. There are many seniors who thrive on community interaction who frequent the local library and constantly talk about books. Many are struggling economically and the library staff got COVID and shut down. I truly believe that a little library could lift the mood, give these seniors and their sometimes visiting grandkids something to look forward to, and create a strong sense of community. We are in a great position to provide new books on a constant, almost daily basis as myself, my family and my son are both voracious readers and can replenish the library constantly. We do not have the funds at this time to purchase a library on our own but so very much want to offer it to this community! We are in a central spot on a curve of the street so anyone approaching will see the library immediately. Please help us bring this community back together! Thank you!

Gina Turlington | Riverside, OH 

This Little Free Library would be installed (with permission) inside a city park. There is a Title I elementary school directly across the street, and the only other Little Free Library is on the other side of town, via many many busy streets that aren’t easily accessible. There is a public library a couple of miles away, however it is across a busy intersection and again not easily accessible to a community that relies heavily on public transport or walking. The city would love to eventually install a Little Free Library in each of their city parks, and this grant would be such a blessing to start down that path! Please note, there are several Little Free Libraries in an adjacent community in another county, but again the transportation barriers are quite high. Thanks so much for your consideration! You are so very appreciated.

Stacy Ulmer | Castlemont High School | Oakland, CA 

Castlemont High School is located in deep East Oakland, CA. This community is severely underserved and suffers from long-standing disinvestment and lack of resources. This includes Castlemont High School that does not have a school library. I would add diverse books that represent and empower students and families of the neighborhood in the languages of the community. By connecting families to the Little Free Library with high-interest, diverse books, people of all ages will have access to books to spur and continue literacy. I also want to involve students and their families in choosing which books they want access to, as well as helping with setting up and maintaining the Little Free Library.

Megan Widmer | Rebuilding Together Acadiana | Lafayette, LA 

Lafayette, LA currently has several Little Free Libraries; however, these libraries are all clustered around a mainly mid-income area. My goal as an AmeriCorps member is to place a new library in a lower income area in order to benefit children in need. The main goal of my project is to increase access to books for children of low-income households. The low-income communities of Lafayette are continually disadvantaged. I firmly believe in the power that education has to strengthen a community. Developing a passion for reading early on has been shown to increase educational performance later on. By placing a Little Free Library in a low-income neighborhood of Lafayette, children will be able to choose their own books to keep as their own without worrying about transportation to a library, late fees, or COVID restrictions. This may lead to better school performance and a stronger community.

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