Newspaper boxes become Little Free Libraries for children
Eighteen miniature libraries will debut this summer in communities across Palm Beach County, providing children with easier access to high-quality books.
Old Palm Beach Post newspaper boxes have been transformed into brightly-decorated Little Free Libraries, which will be placed in neighborhoods in West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, Lake Park, Pahokee, Belle Glade and Jupiter.
Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County and Leadership Palm Beach County unveiled their first Little Free Library on Wednesday morning at BRIDGES at Riviera Beach, 2831 Avenue S.
The Council is funding the Little Free Libraries as part of its ongoing efforts to get books into the hands of children, especially in areas where it’s harder for parents to take their children to a library. Through its “Happily Ever After Begins with Reading” literacy campaign, Children’s Services Council has distributed more than 500,000 books to Palm Beach County’s children since 2013.
“Studies have shown that children who do not read at grade level by the third grade are less likely to graduate from high school,” said Lisa Williams-Taylor, CEO of Children’s Services Council. “We want to encourage a love of reading, recognizing that it provides a solid foundation for a child’s success in school.”
The Little Free Libraries, which use a “take-a-book, leave-a-book” strategy, are part of a worldwide movement to promote reading and community engagement. There are more than 32,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in the United States and 70 other countries.
The 18 Little Free Libraries are the first wave of potentially 100 Little Free Libraries in Palm Beach County supported by Children’s Services Council. Leadership Palm Beach County chose the Little Free Libraries initiative as one of its 2016 Civic Engagement Projects, reinventing the newspaper boxes and selecting the locations for the Little Free Libraries. Sponsors include The Palm Beach Post, Ideabar, Jupiter Signarama and Wm. Behn & Sons Boatbuilders.
“Community engagement is a guiding principal of Leadership Palm Beach County,” said Courtney Curatolo, the organization’s CEO. “We empower leadership class members to take active roles in the community through our interactive curriculum as well as year-long civic engagement partnerships with civic organizations. These projects offer significant benefits to the organizations and class members alike by addressing key community issues utilizing leadership skills and intellectual capital.”
The Leadership Palm Beach County team who worked on the Little Free Libraries project were:
· Seth Behn, an attorney at Lewis, Longman & Walker
· Walter Brown, general manager of field operations for NextEra Energy Resources
· Doug Crane, director of the Palm Beach County Library System
· Ben Hom, vice president of finance and strategy at Cancer Center of South Florida
· Katherine Kress, fundraising consultant
· Kimberly Lea, campus president of Keiser University
· Jennifer Sullivan, business development manager at Ideabar
· Lindsey White, director of leadership giving at United Way of Palm Beach County
“Little Free Libraries are an engaging and fun way to get books into the hands of children and parents across Palm Beach County,” Crane said. “Libraries big and small are key educational institutions and this project will bring communities together around the joy of reading. We applaud Children’s Services Council for bringing this project idea to Leadership Palm Beach County.”
If you have any questions about Little Free Libraries or are interested in being a steward for a Little Free Library, please contact Jon Burstein at Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County at 561.703.2192 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Children’s Services Council:
Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County – a special-purpose government established by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014 – provides leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county's children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong. For more information, visit www.cscpbc.org.
About Leadership Palm Beach County:
Leadership Palm Beach County, Inc., is an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization designed to foster awareness of community issues and promote efficient communication and cooperative relationships between existing and emerging community leaders. LPBC’s stated mission is to educate and unite leaders to build a better community. Initiated in 1983 through a collaborative effort of the local Chamber of Commerce, LPBC has prepared more than 1,000 graduates for enhanced community leadership roles.