Kids, Community & Cops Program

Connecting Kids and Cops Through Book Sharing

Little Free Library book exchanges benefit community law enforcement efforts in four ways:

  1. Supporting literacy. Little Free Libraries improve book access and thus help improve low literacy rates. Recent research by the Department of Justice shows that low literacy is strongly connected to crime and delinquency; by providing book access, police officers help stop delinquency issues before they start.
  2. Forging new partnerships. A Little Free Library program can attract new partnerships with community groups and demonstrate a heightened commitment to neighborhoods served.
  3. Opening the door to additional services. Activities such as book drives, story times, and other events give reasons for officers to interact directly with kids and their parents. In addition to generally promoting public trust, these interactions have led adults to pursue other programs with their local police.
  4. Providing stories of community service. The colorful book exchanges and supportive interactions provide opportunities for positive publicity and make for great stories in the press, expanding the good feelings beyond the immediate neighborhood served.

Take advantage of the benefits a Little Free Library program could bring to your department! Contact us at customerservice(at)littlefreelibrary.org and get started today!

“The LAPD wants to help promote literacy by building safe places for young people to read. We are also building a sense of community allowing young people to see that police officers are real people.

LAPD's Senior Lead Officer, Heidi Stoecklein

Success Stories: See What You Can Achieve with a Little Free Library Program

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When the Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bike Cops for Kids project added books to their cycling program, they noticed that grown-ups liked what they saw happening and wanted to meet the participating officers. Photo credit: Bike Cops for Kids

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In Lake Worth, Florida, police officers have mobile Little Free Libraries in their cars! This way they can hand out books to kids in the community and create fun moments where the kids can get to know the officers in a positive way. They also have a Library in one of their station lobbies.

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Canton, Ohio’s police department sports a brightly colored Little Free Library bookshelf in its lobby that makes books available to the children who accompany their parents to the station. It provides a positive presence in what can be an intimidating situation.

Four Components to the KCC Program

The Kids, Community and Cops program is meant to be adapted to the needs and interests of the local community. This flexible set of products and best practices can be effective in a variety of settings, from small rural towns to big cities. Key program components include the following:

Precinct Libraries: Police stations often begin with a single Little Free Library outside or in the reception area where families will see it. When parents go to a station to conduct police business, the Little Free Library can provide kids with an upbeat distraction and a positive reinforcement of reading habits.

Mobile Libraries: With this approach, a squad car designated for neighborhood engagement carries an official Little Free Library tote box full of books in its trunk. Large magnetic signs on the car doors that say “We Share Books,” invite kids to the car for a free book and an opportunity to talk with an officer about reading. The portability allows books to become part of activities in parks, playgrounds, schools, and other settings in which community policing officers are involved.

Library Networks: In larger communities, a network of Little Libraries may be desirable. Involving local schools, public libraries, or other neighborhood organizations in establishing and maintaining the Libraries can strengthen community bonds. Officers can be a visible part of setting up the Libraries and distributing books, establishing new patterns of interaction with citizens and institutions.

Book-Centered Events and Activities: Hosting events such as book swaps, story times, and sociable book parties serve to energize the presence of Little Free Libraries and assure their incorporation in community life. Some stations may want to coordinate a Library kit building event that puts new libraries in neighborhoods, or host a mini festival complete with music and games that support positive interactions while motivating everyone to read more.

 

“Investing in our youth is the best way to combat crime. When we invest a little bit on the front end, you don’t have to deal with problems later on. I’d heard about Little Free Libraries, and I wanted to institute one here. If the youth can have positive activities like reading and literacy, it makes our job easier, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Eddy Chamberlin, Chattanooga Police Captain

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