LFL Board Member Spotlight: Anita Merina

By Sarah Nelson

At the Little Free Library nonprofit organization, we benefit from a dedicated and diverse national board of directors. The board serves as our governing body and helps uphold our mission to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all. In this series, we’ll introduce you to the amazing individuals who volunteer on our board.

Name: Anita Merina

Current job: Glass artist and reading ambassador

Years on LFL board: 9 years

LFL board title: National Board Chair

Why did you decide to join Little Free Library’s board of directors?

I loved the mission of Little Free Library. I was approached by LFL Founder Todd Bol, who I met through the Library of Congress Literacy Advocacy meetings and partnered with when I was national coordinator of NEA’s Read Across America. Joining the Board was the perfect way to continue my literacy work even after retiring from the NEA after 28 years and extend my own commitment to sharing diverse books and improving access to books.

What is your professional background?

Before I retired in 2017, I’d worked in media and communications for more than 30 years. I was Communications Director at the National Women’s Political Caucus, a writer and editor working for publications serving the Asian American Pacific Islander community, and 28 years at the National Education Association, first as a writer and editor and then as part of the team that created and worked on NEA’s Read Across America, handling author, publisher and celebrity outreach and strategic partnerships.

How has your expertise helped Little Free Library achieve its mission to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and increasing book access for all?

My literacy and community advocacy program has been invaluable in helping to guide and serve the Board and stewards.

What is the Little Free Library project or initiative you’re most passionate about?

The Read In Color program, amplifying diverse voices and increasing access to books

Do you have a Little Free Library of your own? Do you use the little libraries in your community?

I had a Little Free Library when I lived on Maryland’s eastern shore and I helped with a few LFLs in Washington, DC. Having recently moved to Bellingham, Washington, I’m excited about setting one up at my new home and meeting local stewards.

What do you like to do when you’re not working with Team LFL?

I’m a glass artist, working on kiln-formed glass and jewelry and absolutely love it. I create glass art for the home, gallery and adornment. My website is merinastudio.com

Anything else you’d like to share?

My roots are in libraries! I helped in the elementary school bookmobile, UCLA Research library during and after college (I spent summers putting the barcodes in the books, endless hours, lol). And I love books and those who write and share them. My happy place.

To learn more about our national board of directors, visit our People of Little Free Library page or check out our Board Member Spotlight series.

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