Announcing Impact Library Program Recipients, October 2022

By Valarie Kingsland

Congratulations to October’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.

Heidi Becker | Hayward, WI
There are no libraries within 30 miles of Clam Lake. The population has a lower income level, limited access to the internet, and many indigenous families. The Clam Lake Junction (gas, post office, hotel, beauty salon) is a community meeting place and the owner would be happy to provide a place for the little library. We are in a book desert and when the idea was proposed the people I proposed it to, they were thrilled.

Sarah Blake | Fullerton, CA
Our house is located on a street that is high traffic for all the walkers in the area as it’s the quickest path to our beautiful Craig Park. We also have over 30 school age kids in a five house radius and they love to congregate on our front lawn under our giant olive tree to play. Reading is a core foundation of education and creativity. It’s incredibly important to me that there is quick access to something that is so imperative to the growth and health of every human. Having a Little Free Library at our home will impact so many people in this area. It’s already a hub of hanging out and neighborly interactions, a Little Free Library will only make our neighborhood more awesome.

Mary Bynum | Pell City, AL
To get kids and adults excited about books and make them convenient to access. Our schools face budget concerns and our public library has limited hours. This would also allow more diverse reading in an area that has not previously been prioritized. The Pine Harbor neighborhood is very walking/golf cart friendly and our children and teens would be excited to walk to the library and pick up a book, bringing literacy and a love of reading to our young people. The box would be carefully curated to showcase diverse books, something this area has been lacking.

Tori Betsill | Southern Conservation Trust | Fayetteville, GA
Launched by Southern Conservation Trust (SCT) in 2021, The Fayette Environmental Education Center (FEEC) is a 14.5-acre property in downtown Fayetteville. The FEEC is where children, families, and visitors of all ages can connect with the wonders of nature in Georgia. The FEEC is an affordable environmental education center and serves as a link between conservation initiatives and public nature areas. The project’s objective is to provide the community and children in K-12 with the tools to teach environmental education to future generations in exciting and engaging ways. By adding a Little Free Library, SCT can further promote education through literacy and promote a stronger, more connected community. In addition, book access is necessary at FEEC because it is a designated yellow book desert.

Ramona Broadway | Gonzales, LA
Children in my neighborhood need to be able to access reading materials without having to cross busy highways. It would give the children in my neighborhood a great opportunity to learn how to read and excel in school.

Natasha Cameron | Holland Elementary PTA | Virginia Beach, VA
The access point for Holland elementary school was chosen because many of our students do not have access to reading materials outside of school. Many of our students are from low-income families. We believe that all students should have access to quality reading material regardless of income status. We believe this would be great for our students. Many of our students love reading but do not have the means to get to the public library. This library would enhance our students learning and reading skills. It will allow our students to learn the take one leave one method.

Delia Chandler | Let Us REST (Respect Each Other and Stand Together) | Benton Harbor, MI
This particular community has low-income, predominately female-led households, and a high crime rate. Many of the parents have a high school diploma or less and have very poor literacy skills. In addition, with a lack of transportation and reliable and affordable wi-fi, most families cannot access the public library or online reading sources. Having a Little Free Library would provide this community with low-cost recreation and something new! Access to books has been shown to improve literacy skills and builds confidence in children, especially those from low-income families, most of whom do not have books in their homes at all.

Daphne Guima | Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre | Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Book access is important because the DBNC house at Queen Frederica is located in an underprivileged area far from libraries. And since this particular Little Free Library project will stock books in Spanish, English, and dual-language, Queen Frederica house is ideal because the neighbourhood is conformed of immigrant families living in housing projects, many of them Spanish-speaking and isolated from cultural districts.

Nicole Howard | Garza High School | Austin, TX
Several of the local elementary and middle school students walk by our school on their way home and would benefit from having a free little library. Our high school is also the home of the daycare for four of the major title 1 high schools in east Austin. The young parents would be able to look through the library to grab books for their children. Several of our community members are also elderly and do not drive, so those who cannot get to the local library will have a free space to grab a book, or donate one.

Daisy Magner | Mattahunt Elementary School | Mattapan, MA
The Mattahunt Elementary School and the surrounding community would benefit greatly from a little free library. Mattapan is a part of the city of Boston and is considered a book desert. I hope to create a culture of reading in this community through access to high quality reading materials. According to the Book Desert Map 0-10% of homes have 100 books. Having a Little Free Library will help increase the number of books families have in their homes. While Boston has a rich library system I hope to give families access to books that they can keep and use for as long as they need. Students at the Mattahunt and the people of Mattapan deserve access to books through the Little Free Library program.

Nicole Johnson | Ava RI School District | Ava, MO
The school is a good spot for a Little Free Library because most people know where the school is. It’s a good area for people who walk around the school. Kids could get books before school since they will already be there. Also, if little kids want to get a book their teacher can take trips to the library. It will change the community because it could push more people to read more books. People could get books even if the public one is closed. It also saves people’s time instead of driving somewhere to find a book, find a library, or a certain book.

Zachariah Lowe | Bowie, MD
While I recognize that this application may not demonstrate the greatest need, as our neighborhood is not impoverished or considered a book desert, we are on the edge of most services. The nearest library is 8 miles away and the mapping system indicates a book desert just across the street. Having recently moved to this address from South Carolina (where I successfully applied for a Little Free Library grant at the school I taught at), I instantly noticed that one of the community’s cluster bus stops is just outside my home. For this reason, I chose to apply for a Little Free Library grant, as I’d anticipate that the library would have an instantaneous and profound effect on our local youth as they wait 10-15 minutes each morning for the school bus.

Christine McGrail | Cherry Valley, MA
Because we are not on a bus route and no library is within walking distance. People of all ages, older folks and children, will have greater access to books which will encourage reading. Reading is the gateway to learning, raising hope, and bettering one’s circumstances in life.

AnneFay Sullivan | West Vine Street School | Pawcatuck, CT
We have a somewhat transient population of students who travel from Westerly, RI to Pawcatuck, CT, and back again. We find that many of our families are without transportation and feel this would be a good activity for families to walk to and/or participate in. Our hope is that it will allow families to participate in reading and accessing literature together. One of our main goals as a school this year (and really every year) is to increase family engagement. This includes increasing reading in the home. This little library would be a quick way for families to grab a book and read it together. It would be great for children to see their parents reading and discussing literature, as well.

Chassadi Strong | Whick, KY
An ever expanding, poverty-stricken community, with residents of all ages, especially many children. We recently suffered historically devastating floods which took the homes, communities, and sadly, more, from so many. Books and entertainment items aren’t as easily available to families right now as they are struggling to find homes. I am a literacy specialist and know the importance of access to books and the critical language and academic development correlated with books. Our community is 15-25+ miles from town where our public library is located. Also, our nearest public elementary school where most kids attend will be closing in January 2023. A little free library would be extremely beneficial to motivate readers of ALL ages, to read, share, and engage in more family reading and discussion activities, and hopefully much more. It would provide a way for those that do not have the means to afford a gift for someone, a way to gift them a book, writing materials, etc.

Andrea Muffly | Fort Story Child Development Center | Virginia Beach, VA
Having a Little Free Library at each child development center (one for young children 0-5, 6-12, as well as the Youth center for teens 13-18) will encourage a love of reading for all ages and help increase the equity of on-base services for military children and families. Military children are resilient and face many challenges caused by frequent moving, changing schools, making new friends and learning new routines. Having consistent access to a free library, within walking distance will be a huge help to family morale and give them free access to books 24/7.

Amber Richard | Portsmouth, VA
Because we have a lot of children in our neighborhood this a great way to get books into their hands, as well as bring a sense of community into the area. Everyone deserves to have access to reading material. I’m hoping that strangers will become neighbors in the truest sense of the word. That opportunity for conversation will arise. I know my kids have always loved picking a book from the library, but even more, they loved sharing their own. It is a magical experience for us. To be able to bring that into our community would be incredible. The truth is reading is considered to be “frivolous” to many ppl, an unnecessary expense. I don’t agree with that.

Jericka Ross | New Providence Full Gospel Church | Lincolnton, NC
According to the maps, this area of Lincolnton is a book desert and high poverty area; we believe that a little library will be impactful to our diverse community. Providing more book access in this area will substantially benefit children in the area. I expect this Little Free Library to be a beneficial addition to our community. Asbury Academy already hosts a walking trail and donation center, the library will be a welcome addition to people already using the location’s resources. There is also a nearby daycare and senior living community, I anticipate kids and elderly really enjoying the library.

Marnie Turman | Cameron Parish NSDAR | Sterling, VA
Cameron Parish NSDAR supports elementary schools in Eastern Loudoun and Western Fairfax through book donations, scholarships and school volunteers. Most of this area is identified as a book desert. Seven years ago, we began donating Little Free Libraries to Title 1 elementary schools in this area and stocking them with books. Rolling Ridge Elementary serves a diverse community and requested our support after learning of our program. We have seen how these Little Free Libraries have supported school communities and increased book access for the students and their families. Adding this Little Free Library to the Rolling Ridge school community will benefit all that live in this area by providing much needed resources.

Taylor Smith | Coaling, AL
The schools in the surrounding area are Title I schools and have some of the lowest state testing scores for reading in the county. While the census does not necessarily indicate a high poverty level, the surrounding areas do consist of high poverty where families may not be able to afford books for their children and teens. The community of Coaling is centered between the towns of Cottondale and Vance and close to the city of Brookwood, all of which could benefit from a Little Free Library. People of all ages would have access to free books.

Linda Edwards | Westport Crossing Condominium Association | Saint Louis, MO
There are many people who are kind sharing residents with grandchildren who live here and a Little Free Library would be perfect and has already been approved for location and installation in the playground area near the swingset and the bench! It will encourage curiosity, kindness and generosity.

Vicky Yarger | Glen Hope Borough | Glen Hope, PA
The nearest public library is 6.5 miles from Glen Hope, and has very limited hours, which do not include any weekend hours. We would like to provide reading and book opportunities to people in the community that is available at all times. We are a rural community and there is no public transportation, so having a book exchange local to community members would be an excellent resource.

Latricia Riggins | Matilda Hartley Elementary School | Bonaire, GA
Low-income based; high literacy rate; 100% free lunch; the public library is not in walking distance due to lack of transportation; low-public housing area; and lack of parents without high school diploma/GED. Kids will be able to walk to the school, which is behind the housing complex, and have access to books anytime throughout the school year, especially summer months. Families/students in grades Pre-K through 5 where I work as a library media specialist & Title I Family Engagement Representative. It has been a goal/dream to offer opportunity to this community in which I am employed. I promote literacy and know the importance of the need to help our leaders become readers. Our school met our SMART goal of 40% of our students reading on grade level this past year, but I want that number to double and lead to 100% of students reading on or above grade level. This program can help make this dream a reality.

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