Published On: Sat, Oct 24th, 2015

New Little Free Libraries Soon to Pop Up Around Palm Beach County

By CRA News Service

A nonprofit organization for leaders is collaborating with Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County to promote literacy and build a sense of community through some new little free libraries across the county.

Leadership Palm Beach County has chosen Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County’s Little Free Libraries initiative as one of its 2016 Civic Engagement projects. Plans are for the Little Free Libraries project to establish up to 100 miniature take-a-book, leave-a-book libraries across the county.

And organizers are envisioning that children – particularly those who live in communities that are considered “book deserts” –soon will be able to snuggle up with a good read.

“This project fits wonderfully with our ’Happily Ever After Begins with Reading’ literacy campaign, which has given books to thousands of Palm Beach County children since we launched in 2013,” Lisa Williams-Taylor, Children’s Services Council’s CEO, said in a news release. “Our goal is to build children’s home libraries, which has been shown to have a direct impact on children’s academic success. These mini community libraries do just that – particularly in neighborhoods where it’s difficult for parents to take their children to their local public library.”

These adorable book boxes are part of an international network of more than 32,000 freestanding libraries where people can swap, borrow or donate your own books for others to enjoy. The mailbox-like structures typically are located in public places and operate on the honor system. They would be overseen by a steward to ensure the libraries remain full and in good condition.

Children’s Services Council proposed the project because it recognizes the vital importance grade-level reading has not only on individual children but our community as a whole, according to the release. Studies have shown children who cannot read on grade level by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma, it continued. Easy access to books is a crucial part of encouraging literacy.

Children’s Services Council has pledged up to $350 per Little Free Library to cover the cost of materials and installation, as well as the licensing fees for each library. Locations will be announced in January and libraries will be installed by early summer, according to the release.

For more than 30 years, Leadership Palm Beach County (LPBC) has educated and united leaders to build a better community. Initiated in 1983 through a collaborative effort of the local Chambers of Commerce, LPBC has prepared more than 1,500 graduates for enhanced community leadership roles.

This year, LPBC chose five Civic Engagement projects to support with research, planning and marketing. The members will spend nine months conducting research, developing materials and presenting their findings in order to empower these organizations to reach their goals.

The team working on the Little Free Libraries project includes Seth Behn, an attorney at Lewis, Longman & Walker; Walter Brown, general manager of safety for Florida Power & Light Co.; Doug Crane, director of the Palm Beach County Library System; Ben Hom, assistant vice president of talent at Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Katherine Kress, fundraising consultant; Kimberly Lea, campus president of Keiser University; Jennifer Sullivan, business development manager at Ideabar; and Lindsey White, senior associate of development and special events at The Society of the Four Arts.

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