Announcing Impact Library Program Recipients, April 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.

Bridget Bossert | Bossert, LA
This is a very small community in SW Louisiana that has no libraries and no local schools of their own. Bookmobile comes to town on a monthly basis, but due to the remote location access to books is very limited. Having access to books will be important in encouraging literacy, an important building block for the rest of these residents’ lives.

Sandy Brooks | St. Louis Arts Chamber of Commerce | Saint Louis, MO
This is the address for the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO) with an afterschool program in an underserved area. The area is primarily African American and was blighted by historical negligence. SLACO and the St. Louis Arts Chamber of Commerce (SLACC) are building art parks and libraries among other things to the area to decrease crime and vacancy while increasing property values, economic opportunity and literacy. There are approximately 10,000 people living in the seven neighborhoods in which we are locating the Little Libraries. Children and adults in the area visit the after-school program housed at the Community Center throughout the week and throughout the year.

Felicia Campbell | Genesee County Great Start Collaborative | Flushing, MI
I’m the Parent Liaison for the Genesee Great Start Collaborative through the GISD. I want to put a LFL at my home address to help distribute books to children who may not otherwise have access to literature. The work I do at the GISD is focused on children ages 8 & under, and we help parents find resources to help teach and educate their children. I hold a monthly parenting meeting to talk to parents about local resources, and also to empower them as they adventure through the journey of parenthood. Having a LFL in my home yard would be absolutely wonderful and give me a chance to get books in the hands of the local children. I live in a neighborhood full of children, and my house is on a corner so I get a lot of foot traffic from people walking/riding bikes around my home. This would help promote reading in my community and further the education of the children in the community.

Cathy Ching | South Central Regional Library | Winkler, MB, Canada
Darlingford is an unincorporated community recognized as a local urban district located 14 miles west of Morden, Manitoba, Canada. The population is 1200 many of which are young families who choose this town for its lower housing prices and lower taxes. Children are bused to Morden for school. The school Library is not available to them during the summer. There is no public transportation, with the nearest public Library 14 miles away. We actively support reading for both education and recreation. We wish to provide books to those who would not be able to afford frequent trips to the Public Library.

Alisha Drake | Dinwiddie County Public Schools | Dinwiddie, VA
In partnership w/ McKenney Estates. McKenney is a very small and extremely rural community within the Dinwiddie County Public Schools system. This community has limited resources other than farmlands. Additionally, all families within this community that has school-aged students receive free lunch. This library would specifically service the families located inside of the McKenney Estates Mobile Home Community. There are over 50 students in grades Prek-5 that live in this community. The library would also service the neighboring free-standing homes near the mobile community. This library will be impactful because it will bring engaging and diverse literature to a community at or below the poverty line. Additionally, it will assist with placing books in the hands and homes of our non-English-speaking families. This library will afford families the opportunity to read and share books at any time despite holidays, school closing, library card status, transportation barriers, etc.

Tameshia Farley | Dickey Hill Elementary Middle School | Baltimore, MD
Dickey Hill Elementary Middle School is a Title 1 school. We are predominantly African American. We have scholars who vary academically. Our school sits in the middle of a single home community. Our scholars are eager to learn. We have an outdoor learning classroom that was just built this school year. The scholars love to utilize the space. Our scores have increased this school year even after being virtual for almost 2 years. The staff integrates our natural space into their curriculum. The Little Free Library will be an amazing addition to our outdoor space. Our scholars and community will be able to continue to explore, grow and learn while using the magical pages of the books from the Little Free Library. This opportunity will expand their critical thinking, comprehension, and social skills as well. Our scholars don’t get a chance to read other genres of books outside of the curriculum and this opportunity will help all our scholars to succeed overall academically.

Amy Graves | Bourbon County Preschools | Paris, KY
Our program is made up of low-income Head Start students. Most of our families don’t have a lot of books available for them at home. Many of our families don’t have means of transportation to the local library. With this little library being available in our neighborhood we would have a good advantage because our school is located in a rural area. During the month of March, we have a reading challenge. We noticed that our turnout was very low in our Head Start classrooms compared to our other classrooms.

Hazel Houkum | Audubon, MN
I am a retired school teacher. I live in a rural area south of Audubon MN in a community where in the last two years our development has been so fortunate to attract young families. I would love to have a Little Free Library in our neighborhood to encourage reading for children of any age. My neighbor, a current teacher, and I will be maintaining and stocking the library, and one day on the weekend we will have a story hour for younger children while their parents have coffee. The location of the little free library definitely will be seen and used by the neighborhood and is accessible by adjoining families in an area close by. I feel that any chance a child has to hold a book and read is a golden opportunity for the future of our community and country. There is a plan in the near future to bring more little free libraries to the neighborhood, I am sure once they see this one set up they will see how it is being used and be encouraged to move forward.

Andrea Muffly | Fort Story Community Garden | Virginia Beach, VA
This Little Free Library will be placed outside the Child Development Center adjacent to base housing on Fort Story, Virginia Beach VA. It will have weekly traffic of over 200 families dropping their children on/off to daycare and childcare programs. Providing free 24/7 access to books to military families will greatly enhance the children’s ability to read books at home and with their family members. Military families on Fort Story often have one car per family, which belongs to the service member, leaving the spouse and children at home on base all day. Providing free access to books located within walking distance of both housing and childcare centers will greatly increase the family’s literacy skills. Grabbing a book will become part of a weekly routine on family walks and provide regular opportunities for children of all ages to read more books regardless of whether or not their parent(s) are deployed.

Meghan Nealon | GrowingGreat | Los Angeles, CA
This Free Little Library will be in the Pico Union neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles near Immaculate Conception School/Church (ICS), a central community gathering location. ICS has 200 students (PreK-8th). When surveyed, 70% stated they wanted access to a Little Free Library. 87% of Pico Union residents identify as a minority (67% Latino, 15% Asian, 5% Black). 45% have less than high school education. 38% of residents are non-citizens, many of whom are undocumented. The median household income is $16,895. 99% of students enrolled in Pico Union schools identify as a minority (96% Latino, 2% Black), and 80% qualify for Free and Reduced Price Lunch. 100% of Pico Union Schools hold Title I status. On average 85-90% of students in Pico Union schools are learning English as a Second Language (ESL). At ICS, 100% of students identify as a minority (97% Latino, 2% Black, 1% Southeast Asian/Asian). The Little Free Library will be used by ESL children (PreK-8th) living in a book desert. For some children, the Little Free Library may be their primary access to bilingual literature which will enrich their learning, provide opportunities to engage caregivers and children, and promote literacy in our community. This Impact Library Award is sponsored by General Mills, Lucky Charms. Thank you to General Mills for supporting our Impact Library Program and making these granted libraries possible!

Megan Nutt | City of New Florence Park Committee| New Florence, MO
We are a small town with less than 700 people. There is no library accessible to our citizens nearby. Many of our residents do not have vehicles to access a library outside of town and there is nowhere local to even purchase books. Our children attend school in a different town, so we do not even have a school library local to us. A Little Free Library would have a huge impact on our children because it would give them access to learning and education within walking distance from their homes which they currently do not have. I would like to install the library at our city park so when parents drop kids off to play, they can also grab a few books to read while they are there or to take back home with them.

Regina Riley | Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma | Perkins, OK
The service area will be the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma tribal complex located in Perkins Oklahoma serving Iowa Tribal Members and the tribal rural community. To date, we have approximately 325 library patrons but we are also close to the tribal elders’ housing and elders’ food access. Our complex also houses the early childhood 3 and 4 year-old programs. During the summer there are youth summer programs and youth work programs. Access to literature after hours will impact tribal members, elders, children, and youth engaging in reading literacy in a fun, safe, and social distance opportunity. We believe more people will come as a family to participate as there is little access to community resources outside of the tribe in this rural and remote area. This library is part of the Little Free Library Native Library Initiative.

Claudette Rushing | Havasupai Elementary School | Supai, AZ
The Supai tribe lives at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. They have no library or bookstore. They have to helicopter or hike out of the canyon to access books or a store like Walmart. The children there have limited resources and activities. Especially when the school closes. This library is part of the Little Free Library Native Library Initiative.

Melinda Steele | Fullerton, CA
The community is on the west side of Fullerton, California. While it is located in Orange County, a place many come to think of as an affluent area for the wealthy, this area is more diverse than the beach cities one thinks about. Its school population is roughly 40% Hispanic, 37% Asian, 14% White. The median household income is about 65K and about 40% of students receive free or reduced lunch and 44% of the schools are Title 1. While my address is not considered low income, one block east and west are considered low. Fullerton is a very large area and there is not a free little library within walking distance of my location. With high rent and the ongoing pandemic, our neighborhood community is in need of a bright spot. This library would be located in a high-traffic area for most people that walk to the local 99¢ store for grocery needs. I live on a corner and we see our neighbors walk daily and many kids in the area. Many foster kids also live in this area.

Ivette Williams | Park 581 | Chicago, IL
The community being served is located in the Morgan Park neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois at Park 581 owned by the Chicago Park District. It is a diverse neighborhood with long-time residents, many grade school/high school children walk to local schools nearby and participate in team sports in the fall/spring in the park, residents of all ages and abilities also use the park daily to play, exercise, walk their pets and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. It is a park inside a neighborhood, which we are applying for grants for infrastructure improvements because it has never been developed, and is such a beautiful park with lots of mature trees and open land. We want to continue to beautify and keep it thriving while engaging the community more. The Little Free Library would be such a beautiful, educational and inspiring addition to our beloved park. There would be a lot of activities for children, teens, and adults visiting the Little Free Library near a community garden we will be setting up soon. We would like to give everyone visiting the park a wonderful, fun, and educational experience.

Christine Wood | Central Elementary School | Union, MO
This little free library will serve our student population of roughly 700 students as well as the Union community at large. We are close to the downtown area, which includes the courthouse, government buildings, shops, and other frequented buildings. We hope that this library will be frequently used on weekends and breaks to continue the flow of books going to our students who may not have access otherwise.

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