Little Free Library

A child sitting on a bench swings their legs as their fingers shift through the pages of picture book. Beside them, their parent rifles through a book of their own, equally as interested.

Starting in June, Media specialist Yvette Davis is setting up a Little Free Library at the school food pantry. After some pondering, she decided to call it the “Little Bees’ Book Bungalow.” The bee concept is related to both a nickname and the idea of busy young readers.

The Little Free Library is a place where people can go to get books that usually don’t have the resources to get them. Davis hopes to spread her love of reading to her district and promote to parents that reading is beneficial to their children.

“The Little Free Library belongs to everyone who enjoys reading. It will contain gently used books for readers of all ages, but my main focus is on children, of course. I envision the library as a place to build community and to support families in their efforts to encourage reading,” Davis said. “The library follows the “Take a book; leave a book” idea, but people are not required to return their books.  If they fall in love with one, I hope they keep it and share it. I’d also love for people to donate books, especially picture books for children. I don’t mind the occasional crayon drawing, and it would be awesome to see notes from others regarding how they liked the book inside the covers. Ultimately, I want everyone to find and share the things they love to read.”

Davis’s daughter got a Little Free Library charter for her mom’s birthday, which was a surprise Davis wasn’t expecting at all. After sitting on the idea of one for years, she finally gets to fulfill her dream of expanding her library and spreading the benefits of books.

“I’ve wanted to build a Little Free Library since 2010, but I felt kind of overwhelmed about how to begin, so I tabled the idea and continued to covet all the other Little Free Libraries worldwide,” Davis said. “I guess my daughter decided that I shouldn’t put off becoming a steward of my own library any longer, so she registered and purchased a Little Free Library charter for my birthday in April. I was ecstatic and began designing and building one with my husband right away.”

Davis contemplated where to put the library for a long time, but finally decided to put it in the food pantry so she could monitor it. While most of these libraries are placed in locations that really need it, she is glad that she could put it in a place that could really benefit people.

“While Little Free Libraries are often placed in economically diverse locations, this wasn’t my first consideration. I’m a librarian, and access to books is always my focus. Our school is located in a section of the county that is quite distant from any public library, and the summer cuts off access to school libraries. I pondered a few neighborhood locations at first, but I didn’t know how to approach the HOA rules, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to monitor it adequately,” Davis said. “Then it hit me; people and kids wait at the food pantry. I decided on this location and to add a bench to the library design because the books and a bench would be an interesting and relaxing diversion for both kids and adults, who might not otherwise have easy access to books, especially during the summer.”

After years of hoping to have a Little Free Library, Davis hopes that this one will be popular with the students and families that use the food bank. Next week there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony, celebrating the opening of the library.

“When the library is officially in place, I will put it on the Little Free Library website, my charter number allows me to do this. I’m hoping for a little press and media time about the Little Bees’ Book Bungalow too,” Davis said. “If we get it open before the school year ends, I’d like to have a ribbon cutting ceremony, preferably on a day when food pantry is open, where we can explain its purpose and encourage people to use it. I think the food pantry volunteers and customers will spread the word.”

For Davis, this has been a dream of hers for a long time and she says that she is grateful for her daughter, husband and friends that have helped make her dream a reality. Through years of experience she has hoped that she could encourage families to pick up reading and spread it to their kids.

“As a parent and an educator, I’ve learned a lot over the years, but these are two of the most important lessons I carry: if we want children to love reading, we have to read to them; and if we want them to become readers, we need to let them see us reading,” Davis said. “Consequently, I’ve included books for adults, so children can see the adults in their lives take joy in reading. There is so much to discover about this great world and the people who live in it, and books introduce everyone to all of the potential in everything and everybody.”