Congratulations to this month’s Impact Library recipients, and welcome to the Little Free Library family! After a brief hiatus, we are thrilled to get back to granting little libraries to communities all over the country.

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 reading motivation.

 

 

Abril Rubio | Houston, TX

Our community is in dire need of a LFL. It is located in the South Park neighborhood of Houston,Texas where the vast majority of the families are low income and Hispanic and African American. Our title 1 elementary school is just two blocks away from where most of the kids are underperforming. Our house is in a highly trafficked area used by many pedestrians. It is located in a major intersection and on a corner used for a bus stop. The school children use our sidewalk to commute every day. We want to help close the gap in education and literacy with the children where most of them don’t even own books. We would love to have a LFL to help out our community as we have many sweet senior citizens that have lived here all their lives. We have a church across from our house and this would be a great blessing and opportunity to help so many people in our neighborhood. Our family loves reading books and we would like to spread that joy to others as well. We are excited to host any other community events that could bring us together in this time of need.

 

Anne Kitchen | Sanctuary Covenant Church | Minneapolis, MN 

This library will go to the North Minneapolis community which is adversely affected by racism, poverty and lack of opportunities in Minnesota. In the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis, the surrounding communities wish to lift up our brothers and sisters by providing books for the children most affected in this area. Books serve as windows and mirrors offering different views of the world. Mirrors are where kids can see characters and themes that reflect their identities and experiences while they read. Windows expose kids to other types of characters and stories of other people that may be different from their lives, customs, or beliefs. We want to provide more mirrors to help support their identity and process the emotions that come with the trauma that is intertwined with the system and the process of changing it. When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read… they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.

 

Colleen Donovan | Buffalo, NY 

I am a reading teacher at a South Buffalo Charter School. I live in the same city and community as the school. The area of the city I live in is of lower to middle class socioeconomic status. I grew up in this community and am now raising my family in the same community. Many of the people who have grown up here make a choice when their children are young. This choice is to move to the suburbs (for the school district) or to stay in the community because they believe in its potential. My family has decided to stay and build on our community. A Little Free Library would be a great community builder. Our family lives on a street that has a great deal of foot traffic. We are also on a street that connects the lower income and middle class communities. A Little Free Library would be a bridge between these invisible community lines. I would work with my school, the local libraries, neighbors, family and my constant private library to make sure the library is fully stocked with books.

 

Ethel Dozier-Rutledge | Southside High School | Selma, AL 

Southside High School is located in Dallas County (Selma), Alabama. We are a Title one school and we are in critical need of traditional and non-traditional resources for our students during this pandemic. Our students are living in plighted communities where crime and poverty is the norm. Education is the only way these students can break this cycle. Reading is the foundation of all learning processes. Because of the community in which our students live they literally have to fight to survive everyday, therefore, we must have a way to facilitate their educational endeavors. There is extensive research to support the premise that the best way to overcome adverse circumstances is literacy. To become a better reader is to read more. If students are to increase both the quantity and quality of reading they need access to materials that he/she can read and want to read. Making literary selections available for all levels of readers is paramount to accomplish this goal. I believe a place that students/adults can have to procure reading material at their leisure is needed at this time. Being the Library Media Specialist here I feel a responsibility to meet that need.

 

Hannah McKeeth | Washington, DC 

We live in Ward 7 in Washington DC, we live in front of a multi-unit apartment building where many families live and there are many children in our neighborhood. In Ward 7 39% of children live below the poverty line. Where we live in the East Corner of the city there are no DC public libraries or bookstores within comfortable walking distance of our neighborhood. Many of our neighbors don’t have cars and depend on public transportation so getting access to books and libraries is not easy. In Ward 7 92% of the community is African-American and historically this part of the city has been isolated from city amenities. We live in a food desert with no grocery stores nearby and there are many other needs as well. We hope that having a Little Free Library will help the children in our community have more access to books building their love for reading and developing their literacy skills. We also hope that it will help us get to know our neighbors better and also help to build a sense of solidarity and a feeling that our children and our community matter.

 

Jayme Deschene | Tempe, AZ 

I would like to serve the American Indian community as a whole, in having books about American Indians/ children books. With a Little Free Library, we can share the history of the original people, which is not taught in today’s education system. I anticipate my neighbors and their kids to be impacted by this library. I believe the impact will be small although meaningful with learning about the Hopi people, the Navajo nation, the Blackfeet people, and many nations to share their heritage/ cultural/ language/ way of life. In making the Little Free Library, I would like to dedicated it to, original people, who resided on the land/ area (Tempe, AZ), the Akimel Oâ€otham and Pee-Posh | Xalychidom Pii-posh homelands.

 

Kathleen Colburn | Eugene, OR 

The River Road Neighborhood is a residential area with a mix of single family homes, duplexes, and apartment complexes. We are home to a disproportionately high number of BIPOC residents in our small city. When I look at your map of little free libraries, I see most of them located in high income areas. Our area is more economically disadvantaged. We are considered out of the city, meaning families have to pay a fee to get a library card from the city library, even though that library is less than 5 miles away. There is a small volunteer library in the area, but it has extremely limited hours and transportation can be an issue in our community. The Little Free Library would be installed in front of our home. Our street is nestled between the district elementary school and the district high school, making the immediate area mostly families with children. While the neighborhood itself is quiet, we are very close to two main roads that connect our community, making it a very accessible place. Every little free library in our neighborhood would help to increase access to books for people who are not able to access libraries.

 

Marjorie Chapman | Our Garden | Columbus, OH 

The community is in the inner city of Columbus, Ohio. The area has the highest crime rate as it pertains to gun violence and the lowest reading grade average. I started a community garden/gathering space last year and held a one day a week story time for the kids. Their hunger to read and be read to is vast. I would like to help feed the hunger by placing a Free Library in the garden, because the kids are very active in the garden and come through to either volunteer or hang out everyday! I can send a link to video coverage that our local news station did of our end of the season garden party last year so you may have a visual of the difference the garden is making in the neighborhood. They titled the piece: Trading Guns For Gardening!

 

Rebecca Nix | Proctor Cares | Utica, NY 

East Utica, or Cornhill as it is known, houses 20K residents, a large majority who are low-income and/or refugees from war torn Myanmar and Sudan. Utica does have a library, but because of COVID-19, it has been closed for months. Additionally, it is not accessible to our community. Children are usually the only English-speaking members of their mostly-non-literate families, and so this community is very much a book desert. As both an English teacher and a resident of this community, I know firsthand how installing this library will change children’s lives for many years to come. I also advise a student group called Proctor Cares where high school students give back to their community in many ways from assisting the elderly to giving to the homeless. This Little Free Library installation will be the first of many that our group will embark on and maintain. I am hoping that you can assist us in our first installment!

 

Yvette Nola-Gilroy | Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School | Palm Beach Gardens, FL 

Mary McLeod Bethune said “The whole world opened up to me when I learned to read”. We want to bring our students the world! We would love to share a Little Free Library with our Title One elementary school to serve our students in Pre-K through 5th grade. It brings great joy to receive a book and to share a book that you once held dear or no longer have an interest in. We are an Environmental Choice school and this supports that effort beautifully by reusing and upcycling books while encouraging our budding readers. While we have a Media Center that is well stocked, there is something special about having a book that is yours. At the same time being able to leave a book for another child to cherish! We believe that having a Little Free Library will encourage and assist our students who may not have the means to purchase books or have transportation to a public library, get books into their hands and into their hearts. We would expect to see an improvement in their skills, language development and overall attitude towards school…it would give them something to look forward to! 

 

Sonja Solomon | Northeast Elementary School | Opelousas, LA

Northeast Elementary is in a small rural town at the center of Zydeco Country. We are a Title 1 elementary lacking a school library for grades Pre-K to 4th Grade in a very low-socioeconomic community. The Little Free Library will be used by students who have limited or no access to books during or outside of school hours. This particular box will be set up by our cafeteria making it visible by each student. It is my goal to have as many students as possible experiencing the joy and love of having a book and sharing this with their families.

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