‘Little Free Library’ program running book drive

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at 5:32 PM
‘Little Free Library’ program running book drive by Amber Chisholm
Graphic: Eboni Yancey

Red boxes around campus bearing the name “Book Donations” have yet to become familiar, but they represent staff and student collaboration on a unique level.

The Edinboro University Little Free Library (LFL) project is “an initiative to enhance the surrounding community by promoting literacy through the availability of free reading materials while showcasing the artistic and collaborative talent present at Edinboro University,” Dr. Kathleen Dailey, professor in Edinboro’s early childhood and reading department and director of the Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE), said.

“We regarded it as a pilot project because it had never been done before,” she said.

The LFL project has collected 7,037 books throughout all its locations over a period of six months.

There is currently a book donation drive happening on campus to support the program, in which donation boxes placed at nine different locations are still accepting books for toddlers to teenagers. “We’re mainly asking for children’s books,” Collette DiAngi, secretary of the CFE, said. This drive will conclude on Sept. 7.

Boxes can be found across campus, located at Cooper Hall, Ross Hall, Compton Hall, Hendricks Hall, Hamilton Hall, the Baron-Forness Library, Pogue Student Center, Doucette Hall and Reeder Hall.

Lindsey Finlan, a subcommittee member, shared that the group aims “to make this an all-campus institution.” Finlan is pleased with the current progress of the book drive and wants people to know that “within our Edinboro campus, we can do so many things.” LFL is something “inclusive and beneficial for everyone,” she explained.

Funding for this project was provided by the university provost, Friends of the Baron-Forness Library and alumni, according to both Finlan and DiAngi.

The unveiling of six official free library locations, or host sites, in both Edinboro and Erie, occurred May 7. These libraries can also be found on littlefreelibrary.org and are made of “reclaimed furniture and other approved materials.”

“One of the proposed ideas is to put one in the [upcoming] ‘Boro Pit,” said Dailey.

Christopher LaFuria, manager of communications at Edinboro University, shared his views on the project and on reading itself, mainly towards family units and childdevelopment. “You never want to stop reading,” said LaFuria. “It’s good to be able to learn how to read, but it’s also good to enjoy it.”

The impressionable nature of children and their potential for curiosity as adults can be powerfully linked together through reading, explained LaFuria.

Curiosity often leads to creativity and a sense of adventure, and LaFuria offered that people he knows who radiate these qualities are usually “ones that read the most.”

Samantha Griswold, news editor for the Gannon University newspaper “The Gannon Knight” also supports the LFL Project, given its impact in both the Edinboro and Erie communities. “The idea that the Little Free Libraries are spreading — that education and learning is for everyone — is an important one,” said Griswold.

The LFL committee has been active since the Fall 2017 semester and hopes that this can move beyond Edinboro and Erie County, along with other involved members. “We want to involve a lot of campus constituents and alumni,” said Dailey.
While the number of books and free libraries can be tracked, the potential for both reading and education to influence lives is an entirely different story.

Amber Chisholm can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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