“In recent standardized testing, the number of kids reading at a third-grade level once they reach third grade was only 7% at Orchard Place. As a result, the Housing Authority, in conjunction with a local nonprofit, has recently launched a kids club literacy program at Orchard Place. I applied for the Impact Library Program for this neighborhood after reading about the literacy program in our local paper. We were all thrilled to be selected!” – Chris Lawton
The Orchard Place community in Loveland, Colorado, received Little Free Library charter #72271 through the Impact Library Program in March 2019. Steward Chris Lawton organized a painting party to decorate the book-sharing box and a group of ten kids participated despite cold weather. On April 5, the little library was installed outside the community center with the help of kids in the community, and it’s been a hit ever since!
We caught up with Chris to see how the library has served Orchard Place families and helped boost reading achievement.
How many books would you estimate have been shared through your Little Free Library?
“I don’t have a good way to estimate the number of books that have been shared through the Orchard Place little library, but I would guess it’s been in the hundreds. There is a woman who is in the clubhouse daily during the school year (the library is located just outside the clubhouse doors), and she has seen several children grab a book and then sit right down by the library to read it.”
Are there any challenges you’ve faced?
“There haven’t been any challenges that I’m aware of. We had a painting party before we installed the library, and I think that gave the kids a real sense of ownership.”
How has your Little Free Library had a positive impact on your community?
“The Impact Library Program is amazing, and is really making a difference in communities like Orchard Place by making books accessible to kids who want and need to read them. The kids at Orchard Place are on the very low end of the income spectrum, and aren’t within walking distance of the public library, so I know it’s put books in their reach that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“The Loveland Housing Authority (who maintains Orchard Place) is so excited by the success of the little library that they are planning to add little libraries to two additional Loveland Housing Authority properties in 2020! The Housing Authority has secured book donations, and I am going to volunteer with them to re-stock and check on the libraries on a monthly basis.”
In communities where books are scarce, a little library can have a big impact. Learn how to start a Little Free Library, or check out our Impact Library Program to learn more about how you can help improve book access for communities in need.