Recently, a team from Medical Center Facilities Operations built a new Little Free Library at The Children’s School @ URMC. The Children’s School is located across the street from the Medical Center and provides care for the children of University employees and other families. The Little Free Library was designed to look like the school and was built using all repurposed and recycled materials.
The purpose of the Little Free Library project is “to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.” The basic idea is that if you “take a book, leave a book.” The Little Free Library provides the children who attend The Children’s School and the surrounding community with easy access to books which they can borrow and exchange. It is designed to promote a sense of connectedness among communities and increase reading and literacy rates. This is the third Little Free Library at the University of Rochester. The other two are located at Whipple Park and University Park.
The Little Free Library project was started by Todd Bol who created the first library for his mother, who was a school teacher in Wisconsin. The idea spread from his small community, to communities all across the nation, and even to other countries. As of January 2015, it is believed that there are over 25,000 Little Free Libraries all over the world.
Here at the University of Rochester, the implementation of the library was made possible by Tony DeCarlis, Ron Rugelis, Andy Springer and David Featherman from Medical Center Facilities Operations. Tony DeCarlis of Medical Center Facilities said of the project:
“Andy Springer called me about this project, not really knowing what I was going to do. When I started doing some research on the little free library and understanding more about it and found out what it was I couldn’t wait to make it. I would have to say it was really fun to build and knowing it was for the kids at [The Children’s School] and for the community.”
Upon the completion of this Little Free Library, a celebration took place. Students from The Children’s School were able to learn about and participate in the book exchange. According to Angela Colt, Center Director of The Children’s School @ URMC, the school is “so excited to have a Little Free Library to encourage reading to young children. There is so much excitement from the children when they are allowed to choose a book to take home and read with their parents.” The inside of the library even features artwork of some of the children’s hands.
The Little Free Library project is a great example of how sustainability can be incorporated easily into communities of any size. The library is environmentally, socially, and economically friendly. Being made out of all recycled or repurposed materials and containing donated, used books, the library does not require any new material for its creation. The library is socially sustainable because it promotes interaction with neighbors, classmates, and co-workers. It functions on the idea that if you take a book, you will leave one, making it economically sustainable.
The Little Free Library is a resource that can be utilized for generations to come. University employees are encouraged to borrow and share books at all of our three Little Free Library locations. If our boxes are full and you have children’s books you would like to share, please contact Amy Kadrie by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling 362-5739.
Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017