Announcing Impact Library Recipients, October 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.

Alicia Kokkinis | Cooper River Center for Advanced Studies | North Charleston, SC

North Charleston has a military and industrial past. The community surrounding our school is low-income – 1 of 4 residents is living in poverty. The community is evenly split between White (39%) and Black (43%) with a rapidly increasing Latino population (12%). Our school, Cooper River Center for Advanced Studies, opened last year during the pandemic. We offer STEM classes for high school students throughout North Charleston. Students spend half the day at their high school and half the day here. The Little Free Library will be placed at the corner of our campus at the intersection of two streets that get a lot of foot traffic. There is a public bus stop on that corner. The service project will involve Building Construction (carpentry) students, Media Technology (videography) students, and STEM students (engineering and IT). The Building Construction students will install the library. The Media Technology students will create a video & photos to promote it. The STEM students will choose STEM-related books to fill the Little Free Library.

Bridget Simpson | Life Circle 72, Inc. | State Line, MS

Life Circle 72 will serve the marginalized and underrepresented communities in Mississippi. Our goals are to provide free books for students in K-6th grades in Wayne and Greene counties and to help improve literacy. Both counties are in rural areas and have a 22.2% and 21.8% poverty rate, respectively. We hope that students will be inspired even more to read thus improving their reading level in school. This will also increase job employment in students which would create an economic boost in this rural area. We have identified students in K-6th grades as the target recipients. Statistics have shown that exposing children early to books/reading increases literacy and comprehension. The number we hope to reach is 75-100 students, but with your help and this opportunity we could possibly reach more.

Diego Cerquera | St. Augustine, FL

The West Augustine neighborhood where the library will be located is one of the county’s community redevelopment areas currently under revitalization. The redevelopment plan addresses the elimination of blighted conditions, provides for community policing, affordable housing programs, infrastructure improvement, economic development incentives, and encourages the development of activities that impact the quality of life of residents. The area is a historically low-income African American neighborhood and there is a low-income Title I school two blocks from the location of the library. The nearest public library is approximately a 10-minute drive, but many people in this community are one or no-vehicle households and there is no public transportation option for this area. Walking to a public library would be over one hour. The impact library will provide immediate, nearby access to children and adults in the neighborhood and will amplify the voices of diverse authors and stories that inspire and engage readers. The library will be located at the edge of my property so I will be able to oversee it daily and ensure it stays in good condition and filled with books.

Donna LaRose | Middlebury, VT

The Lindale Trailer Park is a community of mobile homes in which residents own their homes but lease land through a Community Trust. Our Park is home to many senior citizens and families with children. Most residents could be described as retired on a budget, working-class to impoverished. A Little Free Library would be a great enhancement to our community. Although the town library is less than 10 miles it is difficult to access for many residents due to lack of transportation, long bus rides, and limited library hours. Many people walk around the neighborhood for exercise so an LFL would be a fun and useful destination and community information area. The placement of the LFL will be central and easy to access and safe from the roadway. The children who live here will benefit from a free-flowing supply of books geared toward their appropriate ages. I have obtained permission and support from our Land Trust coordinator. I believe an LFL will have the impact of bringing people together through an exchange of books and providing a space for community interaction and proprietorship. I’m excited to bring this opportunity to the Lindale Park Community!

Elizabeth Giles | Stockton, CA

I live in a community that is primarily people of color, underserved, and detached from Stockton proper. The pandemic has been especially difficult for teens in the area, having so few safe activities to entertain them. While it was possible for them to repeat the cycle of violence, addiction, and poverty prior to COVID-19, it’s now probable that they’ll repeat it. But with more knowledge, and regularly expanding their imaginations, they’ll have a greater chance of breaking the chains that have bound generations before them.

Jennifer Potts | General Federation of Women’s Clubs | St. Francisville, IL

Saint Francisville is a small town that over the years lost all of its bustling businesses and most of its resources. There used to be a school and a library but those have since been taken out. The Little Free Library would serve both kids and adults, as the nearest library is about a 30-minute drive. A book exchange would give the community a new opportunity to discover new and exciting books. The library will be maintained by myself and other members of the women’s club as a civic service to the community.

Kellan Barr | Walsenburg, CO

Walsenburg is a smaller Colorado town, with the population ebbing and flowing for the last several decades, maintaining around 4,000 residents year-round. We also have an unhoused population that this library will serve. I have met some of my unhoused neighbors and they like to read and keep to themselves. I would like to steward this library because I am invested in my community and seeing it flourish. I’m hoping seeing a familiar sight like this will help the tourists who pass through feel something of home here and stop and get out of their car to shop and eat/drink at local businesses.

Lisa Vergara | Storytime Crafts, Inc. | Needham, MA

The William F. Stanley Elementary School is a pre-Kindergarten through 5th-grade school. Our learning community is comprised of approximately 450 students and we are an ethnically, racially, socio-economically, and learning-diverse school. The majority of the students are Hispanic and/or first-generation Americans who come from homes where a language other than English is spoken, and we are also home to a large program that services students with Autism. Storytime Crafts will provide 400 books to replenish the library as needed. Storytime Crafts, Inc is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization with a grassroots literacy initiative dedicated to creating diverse book-rich environments for children that promotes the joy of reading, inclusive for all children.

Markita Staples-Green | Griffin Gardens | Sandy Springs, GA

Griffin Gardens is a community garden located on the northwest side of Detroit, MI. The garden was created by Marilyn Griffin, who took the initiative to transform the lot of a formerly abandoned home into this beautiful treasure. This neighborhood is home to several working families, primarily of African-American heritage, from babies to senior citizens. A Little Free Library would be the perfect complement to both the garden and this community, as both will provide a healthy outlet and encourage literacy for the children and adults of the neighborhood. Additionally, Griffin Gardens hosts events that include yoga classes, art workshops, and community service initiatives. There will be so many amazing opportunities for visitors to grab a book, discover new literature, and donate to the library.

Megan Smith | Glendale, AZ

I live in a large mobile home community, in a part of town that is known for gang violence and drug-related crime. There are many children here in this community, of all ages and backgrounds. We are a tight-knit community and before Covid-19 enjoyed many community events and gatherings. Having this LFL would not only help encourage the little ones around here to learn to read (as many of them have never learned), but it would also foster healthy relationships and fun after school. In addition to the children being blessed by the LFL, the adults around the community would also be able to find some books, which will help foster friendships and sharing between neighbors of all kinds.

Peggy Pitts | Wiyot Tribe | Loleta, CA

I am currently working for the Wiyot Tribe, a small coastal Humboldt county tribe that lives in a remote reservation on the beautiful north coast. I think that having access to a Little Free Library will be a great resource to help those looking to widen their reading and perhaps spark interest in academics and imagination. It is a rural, low-income reservation that could benefit from something like this. I am planning to have it installed in the middle of town by the tribal office so it is available and easy to access. We will also incorporate local authors and traditions.

Robert Mason | Thomas the Apostle Retreat Center | Cody, WY

The community around our non-profit is largely rural and is located on the lower socio-economic status (SES) side of town. A number of homeschool students, youth groups, and families come to our facility to hold outside activities. (hiking, reading, and bird watching). Our county of 25,000 people has 3 public libraries and only 8 Little Free Libraries. Increasing the amount of Little Free Libraries throughout the county is essential to helping circulate engaging books for kids and adults. Students, young adults, and adults (both local and tourists traveling through) will use the library extensively. Having an additional Little Free Library opportunity in this community will allow all to learn, build a culture of book sharing, and allow our non-profit facility to hold book-related events to support the Little Free Library project.

Scott Weldy | Wakarusa, IN

Wakarusa is a small, rural town in Northcentral Indiana. The population of the town itself is less than 2,000 and is serviced by a small public library, which is also responsible for many patrons outside the town limits. Unfortunately, the public library is unable to meet the demands of the community in regards to literature relevant to current social topics and new/existing fiction due to budgetary concerns and politically conservative leadership. It is the hope of a Little Free Library to broaden access to up-to-date literature for those unable to find it at the public library or purchase it themselves. I have permission to place a Little Free Library at the Wakarusa Historical Museum, which is a focal point of the town. Recently, our community has seen an influx of new families looking to raise their children in a small-town environment while still being connected to the outside world. Lifelong residents such as myself, and newcomers to the town, have noticed the public library’s small selection of diverse reading materials. The residents are left to purchase these materials themselves or, in the case of books, request them through an interlibrary loan which often comes with a short lending time. In light of these issues, I was encouraged by several members of the Wakarusa Public Library staff and members of the Wakarusa Historical Society to pursue a Little Free Library. The potential location of the Little Free Library was carefully selected to both easily be accessible to the residents of Wakarusa, and to be mutually beneficial to both the Little Free Library and the Wakarusa Historical Society. It would be situated along a street that receives a lot of traffic and also complements the museum grounds. I, as well as others in the community, are excited about the prospect of broadening the width and breadth of reading materials available to our community.

Tere Kangas | Clarksville, TN

I am hoping to establish a Little Free Library in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Studies have found that parents reading to their children while in NICU have a positive influence on the thriving of those children. The local hospital Tennova has agreed to establish an area in the NICU and encourage families to read to their children during their NICU time. The hospital is also partnering with Montgomery County Dolly Parton Imagination Library to encourage and assist in enrolling babies in this program: to establish an at-home library for the children. A study published in the National Library of Medicine stated that infants in neonatal units showed fewer desaturation events – less than 85% during prenatal reading and the effects persisted up to an hour after reading exposure. Another study at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford also found that preterm infants who listened to the parents’ voices showed more stable breathing, heart rate, better feeding, and growth. 

Thank you to our generous partner Penguin Random House for donating 450 Latinx and Hispanic-authored titles for the October Impact recipients!

Help us bring Little Free Libraries full of books where they’re needed most. Donate today at!

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