“Terre Haute Friendship House is a housing opportunity for college students and young adults with disabilities to live in community together. Terre Haute Friendship House became the sixth Friendship House in the nation and is founded in the principles of Jean Vanier. We believe it’s important to ‘Eat together, pray together, and celebrate together.’ As we have lived in our neighborhood, we have realized that it’s not only the community within the house that should be fostered, but that we are called to be similarly intentional with our neighbors. We live at the intersection between a historical district with lifelong residents who are middle class and rental houses where residents who would likely live paycheck to paycheck. The need to bridge the gap in our neighborhood is huge. We believe that this will not only foster community within the neighborhood, but it will also bridge the gap in our neighborhood. We are also two blocks away from two schools that will allow us to reach students who we see walking each day. We believe that Friendship House could be an incredible vehicle to drive community with a Little Free Library.” – Jess Berryhill
We checked in with Jess to learn more about Terre Haute Friendship House and how the Little Free Library has become an asset to the community.
Tell us about your community and how it benefits from your Little Free Library.
Our LFL has been a huge benefit in the way of helping us establish Terre Haute Friendship House as a place that cares for our community. We bring college students and young adults with disabilities together to create community, but we believe that this community wasn’t meant to stay inside the walls of our house. We love watching people stop by our LFL and are especially encouraged when people stop by with their kids!
What motivated you to start a Little Free Library?
We believe that we live at an interesting intersection. On one side are long term residents in a historical area of town. On the other Side, our neighbors are made up of people who rent and may only be in the neighborhood for a season. We believe that neighborhood revitalization starts small with projects like the LFL.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in starting a Little Free Library?
Mainly it’s been a lack of traffic. However, we are excited about the weather getting warmer and having the chance to hold a kick off event after the COVID-19 stuff is behind us.
What has surprised you the most since you started a Little Free Library?
I wasn’t sure how all this would happen, but we have more than enough. People are super generous and have allowed our LFL to experience early wins. We have a steady stream of books coming in from our church. There is a local Girl Scout who has volunteered to build us an additional box for our kids’ books.
What’s your favorite moment/story that happened because of your little library?
Two of our neighbors were super excited about the fact that the box was up and running. They said they would look through their libraries and snag some books for us. We have also had connections at the elementary school close by to encourage their students to use the LFL
Do you have any advice for other people interested in starting a little library in their communities?
Just do it. It’s a small step to show your neighbors that you are FOR them and your neighborhood.
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.