Thirteen new libraries have popped up around our city over the last six months. These libraries are making books available in the neighborhoods where children live and go to school. Areas of our city that need books to help improve the literacy rates of children in need. These libraries are not large brick buildings with thousands of books, movies and music. There are no coffee shops, computer labs or genealogy departments. Not even a library card is needed. The libraries are small, convenient, and impactful. They are Little Free Libraries.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit that promotes literacy by building free book exchanges around the world. Each exchange, or library, is a “take-a-book, leave-a-book” gathering place where children, and adults, can share their favorite books and stories. A Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book while leaving a book behind. Most libraries look like large, fancy bird houses perched on top of a post. Some are creative in shape and color, some are not, and all have a clear door so the books can be seen. It is place that builds community, promotes literacy, and makes reading convenient. It is estimated that there are more than 12,000 Little Free Libraries around the world.
Literacy initiatives have a special place in our hearts. As a parent, I have personally seen how a good book can expand the imagination of my children and improve their knowledge. I have written a book to teach children, and adults, a powerful lesson that may not be learned through other mediums. I have spent the past five years going into schools to read to students in an effort to show them that is important, needed, and cool. As a family, we have donated a countless number of books to organizations and schools whose libraries were scarce and in need of books. I have spoken at conferences and forums about the importance of closing the reading gap in our students. Most kids not reading at grade level by the end of third grade will never catch up. They will always be behind and they will always struggle. We saw this week as a great opportunity to promote reading once again.
We visited a few of the thirteen Little Free Library locations around our city and donated some new books. Each library visited received a copy of Linnie Mae in addition to a few other titles. We didn’t spend time building a library this week (hopefully some day). We just felt in our heart that this initiative and this organization needed some promotion. The Rotary Club of Fort Wayne is the local group behind the push of these libraries in our community with a goal to put 100 new libraries in our city. I am excited to see how we can get more involved in this initiative. If you are a business owner, nonprofit executive, or home owner in the Fort Wayne area and you might be interested in putting in a library, let us know. We would love to help you with it.
I strongly encourage you to learn more about Little Free Library. We must do our part to help our educators improve the literacy rates of children in our communities. It is our responsibility. You can help do that making books available to children, especially those who do not have access to them at home due to family situations and poverty. You can do that through a library that is little and free.