LFL Board Member Spotlight: Nancy Wulkan

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: Nancy Wulkan

Current job: Founder and Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor Literacy Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting access to books in underserved neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois.

Years on LFL board: 1

LFL board title: newly elected National Board Chair

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

I am a firm believer in the Little Free Library® concept as an efficient and creative way to make books accessible to all, engage communities in a meaningful and fun project, and unite generations of readers through the joy and tradition of shared stories.  I’m excited to be part of a platform which brings together so many incredible people in the literacy community and is deeply committed to providing ready access to books in communities across the world.

What is your professional background?

Former Bank Examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; retired California Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and auditor at KPMG Peat Marwick, Los Angeles; BA-Economics from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana; lived abroad for 12 years in London, England and Singapore; Founder of the Neighbor to Neighbor literacy nonprofit.

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?

I’ve gained extensive experience partnering with local community groups, nonprofits, corporations, literacy organizations, and neighborhood advocates to donate, install, and support more than 200+ Little Free Libraries®, primarily in under-resourced neighborhoods of Chicago, since 2018.  I believe the insights I’ve gained through this fieldwork are beneficial to LFL as we execute our ambitious strategic plan to grant thousands of Little Free Libraries® to underserved communities across America.

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

I enthusiastically embrace each of our amazing projects! But if I must make a choice, I feel closest to the Impact Library/Indigenous Library granting programs because I’ve witnessed firsthand the way in which these libraries can greatly benefit neighborhoods, one block at a time.  My experience working within the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago makes me equally energized by the Read in Color program: I believe that every reader should feel represented and reflected in the books they find and enjoy.

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

Yes, I am the Steward of three Little Free Libraries® in my own Chicago neighborhood.  In fact, the immediate impact of these first book boxes I installed was what compelled me to form the Neighbor to Neighbor nonprofit, to bring these benefits to less resourced communities on Chicago’s South and West sides.  I love visiting other LFLs and carry books in my car wherever I go. My husband knows that we will be making plenty of detours on our travels to drop books in out-of-state LFLs!  Among my favorite stops were a gorgeous LFL in a community garden in Houghton, MI, and several LFLs in London…I left notes with the books and received a few emails from the recipients!

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

I’m passionate about reading, of course, and enjoy participating in my neighborhood book club.  I’m currently in process of relocating to the Denver, Colorado area, spending lots of time exploring new mountain destinations and hiking trails.  A Golden-Doodle puppy we added to our family this winter keeps me busy reading puppy-training guides!  Family is a priority for me, so I relish time with my husband, two grown sons, and their significant others.

Anything else you’d like to share?

To learn more about Neighbor to Neighbor Literacy Project, please check out our website at www.neighborliteracy.org. You can also follow us on Instagram @n2nliteracyproject

To learn more about our national board of directors, visit our Board & Staff page or check out our Board Member Spotlight series.

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