Impact Library Program Steward Stories, August 2023

By Sarah Nelson

Little Free Library’s Impact Library Program provides no-cost Little Free Library book-sharing boxes to underserved communities where they can make a meaningful impact on book access and literacy engagement. This month we heard from two stewards who were previously granted libraries through our Impact Library Program and wanted to share their stories.

Additionally, we granted 31 Impact Library Packages to applicants from schools, libraries, and nonprofit organizations in August 2023. These new Little Free Libraries will be expanding book access from Tacoma, WA to Roanoke, VA and many areas in between! Learn more about where we’ve placed Impact Library Program awards over the years.

Eric B. — #159512 in Honolulu, HI

“The Little Free Library has become a staple in the community, bringing people together in unexpected ways. People who may have never spoken to one another before are now connecting over their shared love of reading. The library has become a hub for community events like book swaps and author visits, and it has helped to promote literacy and community building in the neighborhood.

Overall, the Little Free Library has been a huge success, and it’s a great example of how a simple idea can have a big impact. The library is a testament to the power of books to bring people together, and it has made a positive difference in the community.”

Our hearts are breaking for everyone affected by the wildfires on Maui. The Maui Strong Fund is working to provide resources for disaster response and recovery.

Sarah Q. — #168047 in Chicago, IL

“We are a recipient of the Impact Library Grant Award and I want to share how this has influenced our community. We live in an area that according to census data is 78-81% Hispanic, 15% White, and 2-4% Black, which does not account for our Polish, Ukrainian, Asian, or immigrant community members, among others. There are a few Little Free Libraries here and there, but certainly not as many as you can find in other communities. You certainly cannot find Little Free Libraries which offer bilingual books, or emphasize children’s literature. Since we have children and they love LFL but have had challenges finding books, we wanted to have a library primarily dedicated to children and bilingual options.

We installed our library on 7/15/23. We’re on a school walking route and we felt this might be an ideal place for children and families to find books, but we didn’t really expect much traffic or interest until the school year started. I’m thrilled to say we were wrong about that, but right that there would be interest. We frequently have children stopping by on their own, we have families, we have adults on their own, and we now have people also leaving books and magazines. The other day I discovered 4 Highlights magazines that were gone by the next morning.

I’ve also reached out to local parent groups and found overwhelming support and donation offers. There is a lot of excitement and support for a bilingual LFL focused on children.
That said, finding bilingual books is an ongoing challenge. There is a clear interest and need but many who want to donate don’t have this as an option (we still take any and all books). We’re now on the hunt to find creative and economical ways to continue to supply bilingual books to our community. We didn’t expect to be getting the interest that we’re getting so quickly after installation and it is inspiring and heartwarming. We’re excited to see how this goes over the next year and we feel enormously grateful and lucky to be part of the LFL community.”

Help us bring Little Free Libraries full of books where they’re needed most. Donate today! When you donate, you help us provide libraries to communities like these.

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