Lit­tle Free Li­braries

Serve Daily - - COMMUNITY - By Megan Wall­gren

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 Lit­tleFreeLi­, 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

Photo: Courtesy Ceri Rencher

Cheri Rencher’s Lit­tle Free Li­brary in be­tween Span­ish Fork and Payson.

Photo: Courtesy Brax­ton Arm­strong

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