Little Libraries, Big Impact

By Mary Kate Sheppard, Staff Writer—

On their website, Little Free Libraries describe themselves as, “a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”

That is the heart and soul behind the new community organization, which has reached across social barriers and established a sense of love and community to hundreds of neighborhoods, including some in Chattanooga. 

Little Free Libraries is an organization that provides small wooden boxes to different communities. These boxes can be placed anywhere, and inside each one comes a selection of books that are free to take. It’s also encouraged that community members give their own books in return. 

The goal of LFL is to provide books to children in communities where they might be scarce. 

“I’ve wanted to have a Little Free Library outside my house for a while, but, during the pandemic, since we are working from home now, I finally decided to pull the trigger,” local teacher and Little Free Libraries activist April Corbett said.

Corbett described how her community has a lot of foot traffic, and how she feels a LFL would greatly impact and improve her own neighborhood. 

“Chattanooga is all about the outdoors,” she said, “LFL is a different way of getting people out and encouraging them to walk around their own neighborhoods.” 

Thanks to LFL, anyone can take a book and read it on a bench or the bus. 

Little Free Libraries is a source that provides books to those who might not have them otherwise. Despite this, the small wooden boxes are rarely found in more impoverished neighborhoods. 

If this is a program made to provide books for those in need, then why are boxes rarely found in places where the needy are located?

“The way to change that is awareness,” Corbett said. “The more we have, the more it will grow. People need to feel empowered by this program.” 

Speaking of awareness, The Chattery learning center hosted an online class conducted by Corbett on how to start up and maintain your own personal Little Free Library on Sept. 12. Anyone interested can visit The Chattery website, talk to April on Instagram @upstatemississippi, or visit the LFL website.

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