Congratulations to this month’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 reading motivation.
Alena Stewart | New Orleans, LA
Our neighborhood was very vibrant until Hurricane Katrina severely destroyed it. It was a senior citizen community most kids were grown and gone but Hurricane Katrina changed that atmosphere. Families and kids returned to what was left of the neighborhood due to economic reasons. We began to notice lots of kids living with grandparents thus the need for a little library. At last count there are 63 kids between the ages of 5 & 17 with nothing to do besides playing basketball for exercise and friendship. We have offers of free books from neighbors who think it’s a great idea. We are interested in any and all opportunities that may be available for poor communities. The library can be located on my home property which is fully paid for and I will be the steward of this valuable opportunity.
Alison Doan| Savannah, GA
The community being served is low-income single parent homes. Many receive government assistance and work in the service industry. Chatham County Schools are going to be continuing “online learning” for the next 2-3 months.My husband and I have owned this apartment complex for the past 5 years and would love to put up a Little Free Library for the kids in the area. Other properties in the area are also apartments and this location gets a good deal of foot traffic. I am an aide in my children’s school and have already started collecting books from teachers. At this point, I have 100+ books waiting to be shared.
Amanda Mummert | Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, Inc. | Dundalk, MD
We envision a network of little libraries in Turners Station, a historically Black community in Baltimore County, Maryland. If we are selected to receive a library, it will be just the beginning! We’ve formed an anti-racism group which we are calling Dundalk Cares (it’s a crew from the community development organization, Dundalk Renaissance, plus the Turners Station Conservation Teams, and various churches in the area) and we want our Libraries to focus on books about Black, brown, African American, and other BIPOCs so that the children of Turners Station can see themselves in these works. For libraries outside of Turners Station, we will share activism, anti-racism, and philosophical works to build community, critical thinking, and empathy. We have partnerships with local churches, the rec center, and the local girl scout troop who are willing to help restock.
Angelia Baker | Steps to Success | Denver, CO
Montbello is a diverse community located in the Far Northeast of Denver, It has a large Mexican immigrant population as well as a rich African American history. Many families in Montbello struggle to make ends meet. With long work hours, and/or single parent homes. Working with the community during COVID-19, we try to set a vision for what the area has identified in addressing basic needs. We want to be innovative, while meeting the functionality and convenience for those children and families who come to our location for other low income resources. We also want to provide life skills and social emotional learning to families by hosting in-person and virtual classes on how to build their own little free library, so as our community continues to build walkable loops throughout the community for families to enjoy walking and bicycle riding. They can/will also see a growing number of little free libraries in other sectors of the community, which will help grow our “Power Of One Heart Of Montbello” Book Club. It is our intent to expand on our community literacy concept, by getting more books in the hands of our youth and their parents.
Candice Arancibia | Chula Vista, CA
The little library would serve the students within the South Bay Community located approximately 5 miles from the US/ Mexico border. I am a 3rd grade teacher and live in the same community as my students. When the pandemic hit, students had little to no access to books. Our school, for many of our students, is not a central location but my home is. My hope is that students from all local schools including my school would have easier access to books given that students would have the possibility to drive down the street and pick up some sanitized books . I am a strong advocate for literacy and truly believe that students will become better readers by doing the work of reading. I also would love for my lending library to focus on diverse books where my community sees themselves and learns of others in the books they read. I would love for the opportunity to share this gift with my community.
Emily Williams | California City, CA
California City is a poverty-stricken rural community with a high percentage of English Language Learners and foster youth. Our students in the local district consistently test below grade level in all areas, including reading and language arts. Our public library has been closed due to COVID-19 and the county is considering closing it permanently. The vast majority of our town’s children rely on the school system for meals. There is no money for sports programs, there is no money for arts or entertainment, there is no money for them to buy their own books. I would like to start a few Little Free Libraries to encourage literacy as a form of learning support, so that maybe these students can grow up, become successful, and return to California City to help revitalize it, just like I hope to do.
Jordan Gillum | Wurtland, KY
Wurtland is a small, low socioeconomic town in Eastern Kentucky. Being in Appalachia, literacy is sadly not in the forefront of many families’ minds. Families are more worried about putting food on the table than they are providing books for pleasure. I am an English teacher in this area, and it is truly unbelievable how many students do not have one owned book in their household. This small community is full of students with a hunger to learn, but lacks the resources to help them. Many children in this area come from broken homes, homes abused by drugs, are being raised by grandparents, and many are living below poverty lines. Children just don’t have the access to transportation to get to a public library. A free library where students could come and go would open the door to better opportunities and learning. This location is also next to a middle and elementary school whose students would love to be able to grab books as they pleased. I will ensure this library is filled with age appropriate books, but also books that show other cultures & walks of people to open this predominantly white town’s eyes to the world beyond.
Kim Peterman | New Brunswick, NJ
New Brunswick is a Sanctuary City that, outside of where the state university stands, is majority Hispanic, over half of whom are immigrant families who can’t afford large home libraries. The street I am on is filled with children ranging from pre-k through high school and has a senior home. While there are a number of programs in the area that are designed to aid in the education and empowerment of these kids, they’re largely closed because of the pandemic and will probably be affected by the financial fallout in the long-term, especially the local library and local church-run preschools. Also, the elementary school that is walking distance from the area, another place of refuge, is being bulldozed down and moved significantly further away – so a lot of educational resources that were available will no longer be. Considering the circumstances, both short-term and long-term, having a publicly run and available resource that provides families with the means and encouragement to read, would be an amazing addition to the community. It could provide a gathering place and a source of community and learning when those are and have been sorely lacking.
Kimberly Harper | WD Mohammed Islamic Center | Greensboro, NC
Our Islamic Center is located in east Greensboro, NC, an area that is underfunded and in need of resources. We believe a Little Library will allow the children in the community access to books and opportunities for growth. Also, it would provide the children who attend our mosque an opportunity to check out books. Finally, a Little Free Library would encourage literacy in a community where the high school graduation rate is below 40%. Early literacy practices make a difference in the lives of children and that starts with access to a variety of books. Thank you for considering our request. Our mosque community is full of retired educators who have committed to assisting with the program and keeping the Little Free Library stocked with books. We also plan to appeal to local English department colleagues for donations to help maintain the flow of books.
Leah Clark | Oak Hills Terrace Elementary School | San Antonio, TX
The last few months have been hard on our Oak Hills Terrace Elementary students. They have been missing school, and missing resources with our distance learning. The Little Free Library would be a way for us to connect and provide resources- good free books to our Title 1 students and families. By helping them connect to free literature they will not only strengthen their reading skills, they will feel connected to our school community when walking up to browse through the library. Teachers/Staff can also leave encouraging notes to our students and families who are needing it so much while we prepare for another year of uncertainty in education. This would bring so much joy to our community and our faculty.
Linda Cooper | Millington First United Methodist Church | Millington, TN
We would like to place a Free Little Library outside the entrance to our church’s food pantry. Millington is a small suburb of Memphis, TN with a population of approximately 10,000. Our emergency food pantry ministry serves approximately 3,000 hungry people each year, the majority of them families with small children. The church is an active partner with our community’s schools, with our Weekend Backpack ministry, school supplies drive and a Teacher Appreciation Breakfast, as well as offering our Flame Center gym on our church campus as a place for sports teams, ROTC and bands to meet and practice. We hope to fill the Little Free Library with books for children as well as adults, along with crayons/colored pencils, coloring books and educational materials such as flashcards and workbooks, to foster a sense of curiosity, imagination, creativity and learning in low-income households that may not have quick and ready access to books and other educational resources.
Lynne Zwickl | Santa Ana, CA
I teach and live in an area that has 90% of its students receiving free and reduced lunch through school programs. Many of my students and neighbors are struggling during this current period but also struggle without the addition of this pandemic to provide the essentials and books are a luxury. By providing free literature I will be impacting people’s lives in a positive way – not only by offering enrichment, but by helping to develop reading skills that will directly translate to helping kids in school. With this pandemic and no in person schooling, many students have no access to literature. I have a treasure trove of books to start my library right now! I moved from elementary age students to young adults, which means I have picture books galore to share.
Marcela Gonzalez | Euclid, OH
Euclid has a population of approximately 47,863 people, with 22% of them living below the poverty line. Children of all ages often ride their bikes down the street or walk with their friends and families to play basketball around the neighborhood. By having a Little Free Library on their route, the kids could stop, grab a book, and encourage their friends to read. 60% of Euclid’s population is formed by African Americans; the purpose of this library would be to provide culturally relevant materials for children and youth that celebrate their culture and heritage while curating materials that empower and encourage them to keep reading. As an advocate for arts and education, I believe that when children have access to books it helps foster a sense of curiosity and understanding of the world. Now that schools will be remote for a couple more months due to the current state of our country with the pandemic, I believe it is more important now than ever to offer children opportunities to keep learning. I would like to help inspire children to love reading, build our community by book exchanges, and continue the mission to advance education, one book at a time.
Marion Caldwell | New Gloucester, ME
We have many community members walking here because there are limited neighborhoods in the countryside. We have many families of kids of varying ages as well as retirees that could benefit from the use of this. Due to COVID-19, many families are working from home and our children are schooling at home. This library offers some happiness and opportunities for new reading material to make having to be at home more enjoyable. I plan on using this as a fun experience for my two daughters who will help me with the library-they are 7 and 10. I have headed my own book club for 2 years now and am working on helping my 10 yr old head up her own book club. I’m a substitute teacher at an early childhood center and elementary school that don’t have their own libraries and would like to be a resource for them. The passion goes with my name-Marion the Librarian. Please help make this dream come true. As if today, because of poor budgeting issues, our town has closed our library down. This is sad news and detrimental to our community. There is now an increased need to offer the little library in my area I feel. I feel that this is a giant calling to me to help my community members out and create this Little Library.
Pam Frankforther | Elmwood Local Schools | Bloomdale, OH
I am a Reading Specialist at Elmwood Schools, a rural school district in Ohio. We serve approximately 1,200 students in our preK-12 campus. The public library in our district is 6 miles from the school, but with a land area of 107 square miles, it is considered far and somewhat inaccessible to many families. If given to us, this Little Free Library will be placed at the home of a fellow teacher (Our volunteer steward! She is so excited!) who lives right next to the bus stop in Bloomdale. It is a high traffic area and not only will this give our students access to books, many of their parents and grandparents wait with them in the morning so they’d be able to participate too! My hope is for this LFL to be successful enough to also install one at the bus stops in the other 4 towns we serve. We already have some fun “ribbon cutting” activities planned to create interest and provide awareness of the program. My reading team at school will also involve our LFL in many activities during the school year, of course!
Savannah Kitchens | Parnell Memorial Library | Montevallo, AL
The neighborhood in University Park Mobile Home Community has a majority Hispanic population. This community has grown a lot in recent years, with schools reporting that 25% of their students speak Spanish at home. This neighborhood is located on Highway 25 in town, an area that has no sidewalks or walkways, and is not within walking distance of schools, stores, or the public library. To access library books, kids have to have a parent or family member available to drive them. Making free books available in this neighborhood will dramatically improve students’ ability to find reading material. The Parnell Memorial Library just received a shipment of approximately 700 books in Spanish and English/Spanish combined from the local Reading is Fundamental Program. We will use these books to keep the Little Free Library stocked, with scheduled monthly visits from library staff. We are committed to maintaining a regular supply of books, specifically targeted to the interests and needs of this community.
Scarlett Salamone | Loveland Acres Farm | Elkhorn, WI
We are a small, black-owned dairy farm offering hands on agricultural programs at little to no cost to children and young people from Milwaukee and Madison in an effort to work toward food sovereignty and creating a safe, peaceful place for disadvantaged children to learn how to farm. Many come from homes with little to no resources and having a spot to grab books from to take home after they’ve had their time on the farm would be amazing. We have many people donating books for us to share and I’d be delighted to have a little free library to keep them tucked in one spot along with some other farm goods they can help themselves to like eggs and milk soap. I believe in lifelong learning and this would make a huge difference for the kids we work with. Thank you for your consideration. While my exact location doesn’t reflect the need, the lack of diversity in this area is being addressed by our offerings and these kiddos come from Title 1 schools, areas with extreme poverty, and little resources. You can view our work on IG at Loveland Acres Farm
Suzy Lemoine | Evangeline Parish Library Chataignier Branch | Chataignier, LA
The village of Chataignier is a very rural area. Approximately 51% of the total population come from underprivileged and low income homes and backgrounds with the current demographic breakdown as of 2019 being 55% Black or African American, 37% White, and 7% Hispanic. In an area of Louisiana where less than 40% of the individuals finish High School and just over 3% Graduate College, the Chataigner Library serves as one of the only venues for cultural and extracurricular enrichment opportunities for these individuals. The Little Free Library would serve as a substitute for a book mobile where we would provide donated materials to the locals in the form of books, DVDs, CDs, and other media via the unit, granting an opportunity for the people of the area to learn and grow with an appreciation for reading and self education. Our staff in the municipality would work to keep these locations stocked with the resources for our local communities in an effort to provide cultural, educational, and entertainment enrichment for the underprivileged, utilizing our networked organization “Friends of the Library” as well as from patron donated sources, and books removed from our personal archive circulation.
Vanna Owens | Sequoyah Public Schools | Claremore, OK
This library would be located on our school campus. Our school is not “in town” but rather a small community outside of city limits. Our school is a PK-12th grade campus serving about 1,200 students. Other than the school library, which is only open during school hours, our community does not have a library. Children would need a parent to drive them to “town” to get to the public library, which is limited in the titles it has. We would place the library right outside our football field, which is a hub for our community. Many children are at the campus throughout the day for sports, meetings, clubs, etc. This project was brought about due to my class of 4th graders this last year falling in love with the LFL story. I read the picture book about the program and they became set on creating one for our campus. They drew out designs and dreamed up all it could be. However, due to COVID, all of those plans were ruined. I would love nothing more than to make this come true for them. I am a teacher at the school and I would work close to the library, which would enable me to check the library frequently. I also live close to the school/library so it will be easy for me to check the status of the library and collection. I also have talked with other staff members that are eager to help me with filling and obtaining our book collection. We have discussed some book-sharing events as a campus such as a “books under the stars” night in which families are invited to come out to our football field and share books with one another as well as donate books to our Little Free Library while there. It would be a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Our community is also supportive of literacy initiatives and I am certain that they would donate and make use of our library.
Zalykha Mokim | Jackson Heights, NY
Jackson Heights is an incredibly diverse neighborhood that is home to over 200 languages! The schools in our neighborhood are Title I schools, meaning that many of our households live below the socio-economic poverty line. Our community is vibrant, but we were hard hit by COVID-19, . Having access to a free library will open up literacy access to our families and young people in multiple languages. We are NY TOUGH and together we will share our books with one another as well as our children! I am a public school teacher and have a “starter” library. I have also spoken with various community members who are willing to donate books to start us off. Additionally, I plan to create an online presence for our library by sharing through social media and the local markets.
Anya Ptacek | Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC) | Minneapolis, MN
The Near North and Willard Hay community has served as the home base of Black Minneapolis for 50 years. The Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC), created by residents of this community, has a mission of informing and engaging citizens to be primary agents for improving the neighborhood’s social, economic, health, and environmental conditions. Currently, NRRC is constructing the Healthy, Eco-Sustainable Urban Living Demonstration Site. This site will be a centralized hub for health and sustainability initiatives, as well as provide a safe gathering place for diverse community members of all ages. The Little Free Library will add exponentially to this space. The library will serve as both a seed and literature exchange for youth in the community. We believe that the Little Free Library will speak directly to children in our community, encouraging them to engage with literature or bring home seeds to plant of their own accord. While NRRC’s site will include a garden education program, the Little Free Library will encourage children to continue experimenting with gardening at home. We strongly believe that a Little Free Library in this location will foster community and provide resources that local youth may not otherwise have access to.