About two years ago I found out about the Little Free Library movement by stumbling upon their hashtag on Instagram. I did a little bit of research and found out that there was so much good invested in the projects that I wanted a Library of my own. It just so happened that there was even a Little Free Library in the town where I went to college, so I began stopping by frequently to share books.
For those of you that don’t know, a Little Free Library is ultimately a book swap that’s placed in neighborhoods that could use the help. The Library is monitored by a person called a Steward, and they make sure the Library is kept up and has appropriate books inside of it. The Library is registered online in a database so that anyone can find them while out and about. The Library is free for anyone to use, and you can take a book, leave a book, or just browse the selection on your trip through. As a teacher and a reading enthusiast, I instantly fell in love with the idea, and the fact that I live in a low income community means that many families wouldn’t be able to afford new books for their children. While the public library is always available, some students don’t have a means to get to the library, and other people just don’t use it. By placing these Libraries in communities like mine, literacy is able to be promoted to those that might not be able to have it at home, but it also provides great books for people that just love reading.
So, when I was about to start my student teaching in July of 2014, I figured that I was close enough to adulthood that I would have the time and money to support one of these Libraries. I got online and looked around and saw that they were much more expensive than I thought to make and on top of that you had to pay for the plaque to make things official if you made one yourself. After a bit more researching, I found that I would be able to apply for something called a GIFT library, which ultimately means that someone in the world loves reading enough to donate the money to a person to make and promote a Library in their community. I filled out the GIFT application and two weeks later I heard back from a man named Brendan from Little Free Library. My application was not accepted, and I was not going to be receiving a Library at this time. While I was slightly upset, I did realize that some day when I had a house of my own and more financial means to get a Library, I would be able to do it myself.
I didn’t pay much attention to the Library idea for a while, although it was rattling through my mind. I ended up finishing student teaching, graduating college, and began substitute teaching when I received a phone call from an unknown number on my cell phone right before Christmas in 2014. I answered pretty hesitantly, but it ended up being Brendan from the Little Free Library again. He said that he had a GIFT donor that wanted to donate a Library to a possible Steward in Iowa. My application was still in their system, and he thought that my reasoning for wanting a library meshed with the GIFT donor’s wants, so I was chosen to receive a Library.
At this point I had no idea on a time frame for the Library to make its arrival at my house, of if the GIFT donor had even given the money yet, but at least I was approved, which meant the world to me. Fast forward a couple of months to February 2015, and I received an email from Brendan again double checking my address because he was going to be packing up and sending my Library to me that day. He even included a picture of my Library which is at the top of this post. It’s ocean themed, and I just love it! I can’t wait until it’s at my house and I can start filling it with books to share in the community!