Today Little Free Library placed its 75,000th book exchange at Jenks East Elementary in Jenks, Oklahoma, a diverse school where 32 languages are spoken.
This milestone Library joins LFL’s worldwide network of book exchanges. Since the Little Free Library nonprofit was established just six years ago, it has grown into an award-winning global force for literacy and community-building, with registered book exchanges in 88 countries.
“With 75,000 Little Libraries around the world, we estimate that 54 million books will be shared this year alone and 900,000 neighbors will meet each other for the first time,” says Little Free Library founder and executive director Todd H. Bol. “But book access remains a critical challenge in so many communities around the country. We believe everyone has the right to read, and we want to help make that a reality.”
The 75,000th book exchange was granted to Jenks East Elementary via the nonprofit’s Impact Library Program, a donor-driven initiative that places Little Libraries in areas where they can improve book access and reading motivation. In addition to the book exchange, Jenks East Elementary will receive free books each month for a year.
At Jenks East Elementary, a community of more than 1,600 Pre-K to fourth graders, more than 67 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch and 25 percent are English-language learners. The student body includes resettled refugees from Myanmar as well as immigrants from Mexico, Syria, China, Puerto Rico, Korea, Russia, and Iran.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to further develop their love of reading, and to share that passion and knowledge with their classmates,” said Ryan Glaze, Site Principal at East Elementary. “We feel so fortunate to be selected by Little Free Library for this occasion. At Jenks Public Schools, we want to create as many unique learning opportunities for our students as we possibly can, and having a Little Free Library on our campus is one more way for our kids to feel connected and for them to be inspired.”
The special launch ceremony held at East Elementary included a ribbon-cutting, an appearance by Todd, story time, and free books for students.
“We are so pleased to share the world’s 75,000th Little Free Library book exchange with Jenks East Elementary,” notes Bol. “Schools and educators play a vital role in nurturing a love of reading in our youth, and we’re delighted to help ignite that love.”
Little Free Library has worked with hundreds of schools throughout its existence. LFL is now a partner to the National Education Association.