Announcing Impact Library Program Recipients, January 2022

By Valarie Kingsland

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 literacy engagement.

Manar Alattar | Islamic | Hillsboro, OR
We would like to add a little free library to our community center. We serve a diverse population and various ages. We are starting a storytime for children in January and overall would like to encourage learning and excitement about reading.

Jasmine Bamlet | Martin Lakes Homeowner Association | Charlotte, NC
The area in which the Martin Lakes HOA is located falls in what is called “The Cscent” in Charlotte – this designates parts of the city that typically have a higher percentage of populations of Black, Hispanic, and Asian individuals and lower access to the tools & resources that help those individuals live a happy, productive, healthy life (grocery stores, banks, childcare facilities, etc). Our students consistently test 10% lower than the rest of the county in reading level proficiency and only 18% of our adults have a Bachelor’s degree. Around 32% of Martin Lakes residents are under 18 and representation matters. With access to books that present possibilities for lives outside of the low-income reality that they live in, these kids will be encouraged and inspired to strive for more in school and beyond. The LFL would also provide a talking point, a meeting place, and an opportunity for our community to give back to itself, hopefully prompting further investment in the upkeep and engagement of our residents. Community is important and I believe a LFL would be helpful for building ours back.

Katherine Dixon | Share the Joy Plant Stand | Lockhart, TX
Since April 2021, we have hosted a free community plant stand where anyone can come and share plants and garden-related items. Located rurally, right outside the small town of Lockhart, TX, the stand has become a landmark for community connection. We maintain a 500+ member Facebook group entitled Share the Joy Plant Stand where participants can keep up to date on the stand and ask questions to build their plant and gardening knowledge. We have regular challenges and events to engage the community. Our in-person event last month was touring a local nursery and the owner’s private plant collection. We have neighbors meeting neighbors for the first time at the stand. We also host a free seed library which is sponsored by the group DIG Together which has placed free seed libraries throughout the surrounding communities. I think having a free library would be a great asset to our area. We already have a lot of engagement and book sharing on our plant stand. The library would be a perfect facilitator to encourage more book sharing. The requirements for installing and maintaining the library will be easily achieved as we are already actively hosting similar services at this location.

Jessica Ennis | Philadelphia, PA
I live in the East Kensington area of Philadelphia. It is an area where there is a diverse community from an ethnic and socioeconomic setting. Our house is behind a high school and we have small children. I hope the library would bring access to additional literature to neighborhood kids outside of their school curriculum and teach my own children the importance of access to books, sharing principles and community engagement. I also hope that this addition adds a positive balance to some of the more negative aspects of the community in terms of homelessness and drug use. My husband runs a nonprofit for after-school activities and providing engagement in the area of the high school may help redirect kids to a positive activity after school by providing free books.

Joseph Giandurco | Ponus Ridge Middle School Norwalk, CT
Our school is majority minority at this time. At Ponus, 100% of our students receive free and reduced lunch support. Our MLL (Multi-Language Learner) population is growing very quickly. Our students and families need access to more books and learning opportunities, not only of content material but for many other educational topics including parenting and Covid measure. Many of our families can not access the look library or the school library because of the hours they work to support their families. I believe that a Free Library will help welcome parents and encourage reading for all. This library will help to bring some of our isolated families back into the mix of our larger school community. Our community has many needs and education and knowledge can help to bridge the gap and allow some of our families greater access to the school and its resources. Our school, students and families need this opportunity to help create a more equitable setting for our most diverse learners.

Katie Holland | Compassion Legacy | Greenwood, AR
Greenwood, Arkansas is a rural town in the River Valley area of the state. Our school is a majority free lunch school. My family wants to help kids have access to books to help each one achieve grade level and know the joy of reading. I am the sponsoring adult. My daughter who is twelve is really the driving force behind the Little Library ideas. Klaire has been above grade level since she started school, loves to read and wants to share that love of reading with others. She would be thrilled to be accepted for the honor and responsibility.

Kaela Hurteau | Brushton-Moira CSD | Malone, NY
The Brushton Moira school district is in an area of around 67% below the poverty line. The closest public library is over 20 miles away and access to books is limited to school hours. The free little library would allow access for families to read in a community otherwise unable to have access to books. Literacy for high poverty areas remains one of the biggest struggles and access to free books would allow many families access that they wouldn’t normally have. The community would benefit by having access to free books where they attend school at a centralized location.

Wesley Korpela | Milwaukee Public Schools | Milwaukee, WI
If OW Holmes School received a Little Free Library outside of our school, we could begin offering resources to our community. Our neighborhood in Milwaukee is on the North Side and is often neglected. Our families are primarily low-income and many rely on the school for our childcare services before, during, and after school. Our community is often stricken by gun violence and crime. Our students are often behind where they should be on their reading scores. Parents sometimes do not have the time to read to their children, struggle with reading themselves, or cannot put aside resources for books. With a Little Free Library, we could make a small step towards bringing community members together and providing them with free resources to improve student reading.

Hazel Lee Meyer | Hazelnut Creek | Newport, TN
Hazelnut Creek is honored & proud to present a Little Free Library to the neighborhood! We feel so blessed by the hospitality of everyone who has welcomed us to the Smoky Mountains. We wanted to give back in a small way by sharing our daughter’s love of books with the neighborhood. We are diagonal across from an Elementary School & hope all the students & their families will enjoy the wide variety of books we offer.

Crystal Lazar | Habitat for Humanity of East & Central Pasco | Dade City, FL
This location is centrally located in the City of Dade City. Per the census, 33% are living in poverty and the per capita income is 20k. This location is also directly on the path of students walking to school, near multi-family housing, public housing, section 8. It is the main road to access the courthouse and travel through town.

Amber Metke | Stevens Elementary | Aberdeen, WA
Aberdeen is a city located on the coast of Washington in Grays Harbor County. It has a population of 17,024 residents. The average household income in Aberdeen is $60,207 with a poverty rate of 22.36%. The median rental costs in recent years come to $754 per month, and the median house value is $124,300. The median age in Aberdeen is 36.2 years, 35 years for males, and 37.5 years for females. This area is home to the largest elementary school in the Aberdeen school district as well as the only middle school. The area is a transient area home to many rentals. Many students lack the ability to travel across the bridge to access the public library. This would impact students and families in the area who for many reasons are unable to use the resources available at the public library.

Rachel Paulson | Goodridge, MN
We are a small community of approximately 200 people. Our closest library is 20+ miles away. We have an active aging community and a local school of 300 students. Having this library it would help bring the community together and bring access to more books to all. I have started one little library and received funding for it. Thrivent and Our local electric company. Looking to install a 2nd library near Highlanding, MN, which is an active township south of Goodridge that hosts activities for residents.

Damien Powell | Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada | Sun Valley, NV
The Immigration Assistance Program at Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada serves low-income clients seeking immigration assistance, many of whom are native Spanish-speakers, or individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). Some of the clients also include immigrants who are veterans, refugees, asylum seekers, unsheltered, and those who are receiving housing assistance. Along with Immigration assistance, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada offers family and community support programs at the Sun Valley location. As an Impact Library Award recipient, this program’s goal is to get more books into the hands of the clients and expand access to multi-lingual literature in the area. The local residents, immigration program’s clients and their families, and others all benefit when more bilingual books are easily accessible. This new Little Free Library will serve low-income people, many of whom may be new to the United States and will expand the reach of the organization’s existing Little Free Library in Reno which provides Spanish and English children’s books to the community.

Jessica Schroeder | Park Vista Elementary | Port Barre, LA
Our community is a mix of rural and urban, with an extreme amount of poverty. Our school serves over 700 students in Pre-K-4th grade. Many of our second graders cannot even read yet, even while approaching critical testing in their next couple of years here at school. Access to more books and increasing their love is fundamental for our students to achieve future success. A Little Free Library would create interest in reading for our students and their families. Hopefully, a love of literature would also spread throughout the rest of the community as a whole. Free books would encourage parents to read to their children at home, even if they do not have money to buy books. It would also give working parents access to reading materials outside of our library system’s narrow hours of availability. We would really love to receive a little Free Library! Please consider Park Vista Elementary for a Little Free Library donation. It would be a blessing to our school and surrounding community.

David Zavala | University of Arizona Study Abroad Program | San Antonio, TX
The community that will be served by the donation is District 4. District 4 is a District in San Antonio, Texas. The citizens are severed by Adriana Rocha Garcia, District 4’s City Council member, who has a passion for helping organizations that serve underrepresented minorities. The award will be donated to Adriana Rocha Garcia and to District 4. District 4 recently has addressed an increase in crime, increasing homelessness, a need for improvements in infrastructure, and unemployment, so no jobs. Increasing literacy rates, decreasing crime rates, and seeing an improvement in health would benefit and then serve 151,386 people who are 80.7 percent Hispanic, 4.3 percent African American, 1.1 percent Asian, 12.7 percent white, 0.1 percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 0.85 percent Multi-Racial. It would impact the community by allowing people to take a book then leave a book for free. Little Free Library’s inspire hope, highlight education, build community, are fun, colorful, joyous and make people feel safer when they know a community advocate in their community is spreading joy and the love of reading. It sparks increases in literacy, a decrease in crime, and makes communities healthier and sees improvements in mental health.

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