Little free libraries flip a new chapter in their communities


Kassem Ossman

Little free libraries have been build around many different schools and neighborhoods

Whether you are walking your dog, taking a jog or even driving around your neighborhood, you have probably seen a Little Free Library (LFL) without even realizing it. The simple box cluttered with books galore is something that can help people bond and thrive as a community.

LFL is a nonprofit organization helping communities bond with books as well as inspire young readers to read for free. This organization started in 2009 and has been building libraries around neighborhoods as well as supplying materials for people who want to join this cause and build their own libraries outside of their homes.

LFL owner Marie Chiarito explains her decision to build her own library.

“After reading an article in the paper about the LFL, I decided I wanted one in 2015; I established my LFL, proud and excited to be a part of this great movement. Living where I do is the perfect location for [an] LFL, with the high school and park nearby there is always a lot of traffic, not to mention the great number of dog walkers. People stop by to chat, drop off books or bring their children by to pick out a book,” Chiarito says.

DGS alum Jake Burrows describes his Eagle Scout project to create his own library.

“I began the search for an Eagle Project early my freshman year of high school. I was looking for a project that could impact the community and I could connect to it in some way because when you find something that is meaningful to you, you put your whole heart into it. It was early in December when my twin brother’s second grader teacher Mrs. Onorato reached out to me about a potential project,” Burrows says.

He talks about the process with the school and what the planning phase was like.

“Not only was I giving back to the school that I went to, but I got the opportunity to engage with the second graders. Throughout the planning process, I met with a group of second graders and facilitated discussions run by the students to decide on what our Little Free Library should look like. They had a lot of really creative ideas, such as having the Little Free Library be an igloo, lion’s den or a Little Red Schoolhouse,” Burrows says.

Chiaritto continues to expand on the importance of the library.

“I’ve always been an avid reader and enjoy a good read. Having [an] LFL was a great opportunity to share my love for books with others. The LFL opens the door to introduce, encourage or promote reading for all ages and that’s a good thing. People are curious as to what it is and are pleasantly surprised by what’s inside,” Chiarito says.

Burrows also discusses the importance of these libraries as well as the message that they bring in the community.

“On the Little Red Schoolhouse, there is a message: Bringing the Community Together-One Book at a Time for the past six years, this Little Free Library has brought the community together to engage and connect with one another by ‘taking a book, leaving a book’ Little Free Libraries are seen everywhere across the Globe and used for different purposes, such as for books or as a pantry for non-perishables. I believe that these libraries empower individuals to give back to the community, with this past year’s events of social injustice, hate, discrimination, the election and the COVID-19 pandemic, giving back to the community, such as donating a book serves as an opportunity for everyone to come together in an empathetic, way,” Burrows says.