Little Free Libraries
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that aims to inspire a love of reading, build community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.
Good literacy skills are important to a child’s development and future success. One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase their access to books, especially at home. But according to the U.S. Department of Education, up to 61% of low-income families do not have any books for their kids at home.
Little Free Libraries play an essential role by providing 24/7 access to books and encouraging a love of reading. According to LittleFreeLibrary.org, there are over 50,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 states and over 70 countries around the world.
According the website, there are four LIttle Free Libraries in the South Utah County area.
One, in between Salem and Spanish Fork, belongs to Ceri Rencher.
Rencher, a dental hygienist, first heard about the program from one of her patients. She thought it would be the perfect way to use her book collection. “I thought, Oh my gosh, I have all of these books that I’ve read and I like reading and like talking about books and sharing books with people,” she said.
Rencher was able to get an old newspaper dispenser for free and painted it and set up some chairs so patrons of her library can sit and relax awhile while they browse the books.
Rencher lives in between Salem and Spanish Fork where the neighbors are fewer and further between. “That’s why I wanted to do it, because there’s not a lot of libraries out here,” she said. Her library is located at 293 W 8800 S, Spanish Fork.
Rencher also wanted people to be able to “get as many books as they wanted and not have to worry about it.” She has over a hundred books to choose from.
Rencher says she gets excited whenever anyone finds her Little Free Library and stops by for a book. She’s posted the location on social media and had a good response from people as far away as Provo. “I think people like paper,” she said.
Another library, located in Springville, was built by a student, Braxton Armstrong, as an Eagle Scout project.
“I love to read! A few summers ago we were traveling as a family back east and found several little free libraries. I thought it would make a great Eagle Scout project and decided to build one for my neighborhood,” Armstrong said.
His library holds 35 to 40 books, but he has close to 200 in his lending pool. “It maintains itself pretty well with book turn over, but I usually take some of the extra books donated and cycle them through when I see a particular book doesn’t get checked out for a while,” he said.
Armstrong said he’s been surprised by the number of small children that like to stop by and pick a book. “They get really excited,” he said.
Armstrong is always taking donations and patrons can feel free to drop books off in the library itself or they can leave them on his front porch. His library is located at 517 West 100 South, Springville.
Those interested in getting a Little Free Library for their community can visit the program’s website for information on purchasing, building and registering a Little Free Library. Braxton Armstrong’s Little Free Library
Cheri Rencher’s Little Free Library in between Spanish Fork and Payson.