Announcing Impact Library Program Recipients, July 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. When you donate, you help us provide libraries to communities like these.

Erika Avina | Hercules, CA
Hercules is a diverse, suburban community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The impact library will be placed at the entrance of Ohlone Elementary School. Ohlone serves 500 students in grades K-5th grade with about 50% of those students qualifying for free lunch. Because we are not a title one school, our funds our scarce and as a school community must provide as best we can for students. I am a 4th grade teacher and I became a Stewart during the pandemic of my own library in the community. I am one of 2 Little Free Libraries in the area and adding this one near the school will allow for books to get into the hands of children and adults alike. I believe literacy and reading are of utmost importance and an LFL at the front of our school will help students and their families access books easily without impacting their family budgets. Many of our families live in multigenerational households and money is tight. Parents work long hours to provide for their families and children are cared for by non-driving grandparents. Having a walkable location will be huge and I know the community will appreciate it.

Jamie Bergman | Conway Springs, KS
Conway Springs was founded in 1884 and became very well known for the water quality which was said to be some of the best in the United States. Now, we are still a small rural farming community of around 1,086 people. Because of this sparsely populated area that predominantly farms we are located 30 minutes in any direction from larger cities. We have a small city library for the town but the limited hours and days that it is open make access to books limited. This Little Free Library would be used to serve children, families, retirees, as well as those who cannot travel and will be centrally located in our town park. Adding this Little Library to the town park will make accessibility to books much easier for not only our community but surrounding communities as well. The park is almost directly in the middle of town and within a few blocks radius from our public and private schools as well as our small business district. I am hoping that providing this Little Library will serve as a catalyst to bring further Little Free Libraries to the surrounding communities where they are still unheard of.

Meagan Bostick | The Language Tree | Columbia, MO
The Language Tree is the only dual language immersion preschool in Columbia, teaching 2-6 year olds either Spanish or French in a true language immersion setting. This would be a great opportunity to share bilingual books with both our school community and the larger Spanish & French speaking community in the area. Our goal is to help support the families at the school find age appropriate books in Spanish, French or bilingual books to enhance their learning. We have a very diverse teaching staff, with teachers from 8 different countries, as well as families that have moved from many different countries. We have the most difficulty finding French children’s books and would like to help families find the resources they need at our little free library.

Rebecca Champion | Fairmount Elementary School | Fairmount, GA
Our little town has a population of just over 1100 people. However, we are the largest bus district, although the smallest school, in our community. Our students live in extremely rural areas, farmland, chicken farms, and remote hunting land areas consume much of our land area. Making books available for our students to have available could be a stabilizing force in creating a bridge to their future. Many of our students are being raised by grandparents and/or foster parents. Over 80% of our student population lives in poverty and have been affected by trauma of some sort. School is often their safe place and the only form of having access to what some consider “extras” (books, other sources of written communication).

Cassie D’Addeo | Daughtrey Elementary School | Bradenton, FL
I am the school counselor at Daughtrey Elementary School and we are extremely interested in putting an LFL outside our school entrance. Out of 630 students recently tested on diagnostic reading, 92% of our students are “at-risk” in reading meaning they scored one or more grade levels below their standard reading. Our goal with the LFL is to give students access to books over the weekends, long breaks and summer vacations. Our school is in a high poverty area with limited resources and we never want our students to go without books. We have a massive achievement gap in reading and want our students to not only fall in love with reading but always have access to books. Our student body is also 54% ESOL students, so we want our parents to also have access to books in Spanish so that we can bridge the learning gap at home. I and my co-counselor along with our SAVE Promise Club (student leaders) will be in charge of caring for the library and filling it with books weekly.

Jennifer Fox | Sonora Elementary Student Council | Sonora, TX
I teach at a small rural Title 1 school in West Texas with over 65% of our students in low socioeconomic households. A lot of my students don’t own any books because it’s not seen as a necessity by some. Our entire school population receives free breakfast, lunch, and summer meals. The Little Free Library would offer a way for the community to have access to a constantly changing array of literature as well as provide students with a way to give back to their community.

Aria Hutchinson | Miss Michigan USA (Miss Universe Organization) | Ferndale, MI
I have always loved books- I even asked for a bookshelf for my 17th birthday! I have been a follower and user of Little Free Library since it began. I live in Ferndale MI on the border of Hazel and Oak Park. This neighborhood is really trying to instill a great community with projects like a renovation to the huge park that lies in the center, a community garden, and an elementary school. I think a little library would be a perfect addition to this community for all of the children (and there are ALOT) who walk to school every day. A love for reading is what got me to where I am today and I just want to give that opportunity to children here with easily accessible books. Additionally, I just won Miss Michigan USA for 2022 and I am a huge advocate for literacy. I actually work with the Center for Success and the Detroit Boxing gym, mentoring and helping children with their reading. I would love to be an advocate for this nonprofit, raising awareness through social media platforms and obtaining donations.

Christy Jones | Duplin County Partnership for Children | Kenansville, NC
Duplin County Partnership for Children facilitates the social, emotional, and intellectual development of the children and their families of our diverse population through innovative quality programs in safe and healthy environments. Our goal is to promote literacy to children who come through the park that wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to make it to a library or to our office. We are located in a rural county with many parents working shift work, farm work, and long hours preventing them from taking children to the library during normal operating hours. Putting books in the hands of children not only promotes literacy and education but also provides an opportunity for parent engagement and interaction to improve parent/child relationships.

Michelle LeGault | Cleveland Elementary PTA | Westland, MI
This location is a public school that is within walking distance of many homes in the neighborhood. A previous principal donated a wooden Little Free Library to us many years ago, but it is falling apart and we do not have the funds to replace it. Although our current Little Library is not in great shape, it is still very well loved by Cleveland students and by other neighborhood children, such as a group from a local daycare. During the summer, many students enjoy walking to school and checking out books from this Little Library. We would love to continue the tradition of having a Little Free Library because it has been a great benefit to our community.

Samantha Martin | Sto-Rox Neighborhood Health Council | McKees Rocks, PA
We are a Federally Qualified Health Center with 2 locations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We see hundreds of patients each week who either are uninsured or receive medical assistance. We are a family practice, so we see children and adults. The goal is to have a Little Free Library at each of our locations for patients to visit on their way to/from appointments. Additionally, we hope that they would be used by the community as a whole. Our McKees Rocks location is next door to a daycare and recreation center, and our Mt. Washington location is surrounded by houses on every side. Both locations would be easily accessible by the communities.

Yvonne Mayes | Oklahoma City Housing Authority | Oklahoma City, OK
Sooner Haven Apartments, located in NE OKC, is a 150-unit, garden style property that offers subsidized housing to low-income families. There are approximately 120 children that live in the apartment complex and attend the Oklahoma City Public School district. Currently, the YMCA serves the children inside the community center, but they do not have access to books to further their education. This library will not only help children, but can aid adults who are lacking basic reading skills. With many of our residents not having adequate access to transportation, it is a challenge for them to travel to the local library in order to check out books. I believe that starting this library at Sooner Haven will not only prove that there’s a need in the area, but it will greatly influence other properties to install one on site.

Tracie Rollins | Phoenix, AZ
I live in a low income neighborhood with multiple group homes in the area. There is even one group home a few doors down from me, and a few in the streets nearby. There are always new children in and out of these houses and they do not have the opportunity to receive free books or even get to the library. Even if they did get to the library they leave the group homes within days so they couldn’t check them out and return them anyway. My community is surrounded by people who could benefit from literacy and encouragement to read and think for themselves. Many of our community members are on government assistance and free food programs, and could be inspired by a book that could lead to a better life. There are also aging members in my community that can’t always get to the store or library due to a lack of transportation.

Vashti Rutledge | Madisonville Education and Assistance Center | Cincinnati, OH
Madisonville is a historically black neighborhood in Cincinnati, while the neighborhood is going through a period of gentrification there are still many low-income and high-need families across the community. MEAC, the applying nonprofit, provides basic needs support to families in our service area, Madisonville and the surrounding neighborhoods. There is one public elementary school and 1 new charter school in the community. We plan to host 2 libraries for the youth in the community: one at MEAC and the other at Artsville a community partner who often partners and engages with MEAC the schools to support our youth. We’ve discussed adding the Little Free Libraries to the community with our neighborhood librarian who is very excited about moving forward.

Meg Sinervo | Oxford, MS
Oakland is a small minority community located in Yalobusha County, Mississippi with nearly 500 residents, a third of the population being under the age of 18. The median annual income in Oakland, MS was only $21,782 in 2019 and 86.2% of the residents are African American. There is no school in Oakland so students often travel at least 20+ miles to attend other school districts within the county. The Oakland Chamber of Commerce recently named their town park after their long serving Mayor, James Riley Swearengen. Adding a Little Free Library to the town park will provide local school age children easier access to books and educational reading during the summer and school breaks while providing the opportunity for kids to share books with each other through the library.

Hilary Stouder | Warsaw, IN
I am a reading interventionist at the elementary school less than a mile from my home. We serve the in town population with a high number of transient children living in rentals. Our school is a Title 1 school. I want the students I work with who live in my community to see books as part of their lives at home. My town has sidewalks and many people walk past my home on a daily basis going to the grocery store or taking a walk. I have an elementary library certification and a love for helping match people (children and adults) with books they love and I fully believe that book ownership fosters a literate community!

Kristen Walker | Noire Reading Room | Rochester, NY
This is a historically Black and divested area, that is also the site of The Daniel Prude Protests in 2020. This space is the new home of a memorial garden where community members came together to create a safe space that includes a garden and a little free library so that the community can gather in peace and heal. This healing space is for the community at large and will serve as an intentional gathering space for joy, reading and gardening.

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

Skip to content