Little Free Libraries Coming to Local Schools

DATE: September 27, 2017

Prince William SPCA Sponsors 20 Little Free Libraries at Local Schools

September 27, 2017 – Woodbridge, Va. – The start of a new school year brings an exciting new project to 20 area elementary, middle and high schools. Thanks to a $3,495 grant from the Prince William SPCA, these schools will receive kits and building supplies to make Little Free Libraries to display in the school community. A Little Free Library is a free book exchange. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share. The Prince William SPCA is already a steward of two Little Free Libraries at each of the local animal shelters and is expanding the program by including 20 schools this fall.  Younger students will work with kits while older students will be given supplies and allowed to design and create their own masterpiece.

“Literacy is the single most important factor in educating students,” says Schenell Agee, Supervisor, Library Media Programs and Research, Prince William County Schools.” She adds, “The Free Little Library project in Prince William County Schools will help support literacy by engaging many stakeholders. Once completed and in school communities, these Free Little Libraries will highlight reading is not only an academic task, but a thoroughly enjoyable one with the opportunity to use books as ‘Windows and Mirrors’ and explore, the past, present and future. Everyone has an opportunity to participate: Take a book, Leave a Book! The Office of Student Learning – Library Media Programs and Research is pleased to share this amazing opportunity with our students and families thanks to the wonderful donation from the Prince William SPCA.”

“We are thrilled to support the local school system with these amazing little libraries. They are fantastic educational tools for teachers, students and parents,” says Melissa Korzuch, President, Prince William SPCA. She adds, “The project involves research, hands-on building and teamwork.  We want the students to be able to take ownership of their libraries by allowing them the creative freedom to select the color, design and theme. Not only do they help foster cooperation among the students and teachers who are building the libraries, but they also provide an opportunity to share books about empathy, compassion and cooperation. In the end, we hope the students will take great pride in their work and come out to visit it not only during the school year, but over holiday breaks and in the summer. We’re looking forward to seeing the finished libraries at the end of the school year and hope to meet the students when they introduce the libraries to the community.”

The Prince William SPCA is also encouraging the schools to become active in the Little Free Library’s Action Book Clubs, a new twist on the traditional book club. Participants can read books on timely topics, engage in lively discussions, and take part in meaningful—and fun—group service projects to benefit their communities. This is reading and social engagement at its best. When Action Book Club members share their experiences, they help start a ripple effect of positive activity across the country and around the world. Action Book Club members—ranging from kids to adults—read books on a specific theme, discuss what they’ve read, and take part in a service project to benefit their community. These clubs are one more way the Little Free Libraries can give back to the schools and the community.

While the scope of books at the new libraries will not be limited to animal themes, the Prince William SPCA will work to provide a selection of animal books at each of the schools.   “Books about animals teach children empathy, which can go a long way in battling so many challenges students face every day,” says Korzuch. “Children who care about animals will also care about their fellow classmates, adults and other people in the community.  Anything the Prince William SPCA can do to foster this compassion is a win-win for the children and society as a whole.  We are looking forward to having more places where we can share these great books with young people and have them available 24/7.”

Funding for the Little Free Libraries donation is made possible by the Prince William SPCA’s “PWSPCA Youth” program, which supports projects that focus on young animal lovers who are under 18 years of age.  The Prince William SPCA sponsors 13,000 copies of KIND News magazine which is distributed annually in local schools.  The magazine, which is available free of charge in K-6 classrooms, teaches empathy and encourages reading.  The Prince William SPCA has also sponsors scholarships, essay contests, scout programs and other educational programs geared toward youth.