Altrusa International of Washington C.H., Inc., is about to launch a “Little Free Library” for the children of Bloomingburg with the cooperation and support of the Bloomingburg Village Council and mayor Gayle Brown.
A Little Free Library is a frequently replenished box of books, set up in a convenient place (the Bloomingburg town hall) where anyone who passes can easily stop to browse and borrow one of the books contained within. Based simply on the “take a book, return a book” honor system, it is a bureaucracy-free means of encouraging literacy in a community.
One of the local Altrusa club’s members, retired Miami Trace teacher Janet Martin, became interested in the project after visiting a meeting of the neighboring Highland County Altrusa club and hearing of that group’s success with the project.
“With Altrusa International’s emphasis on literacy, the project made perfect sense,” Martin said. Bloomingburg was chosen because it currently does not have a community library. The club’s service/literacy committee felt it was important to provide books for the community’s children, and the Bloomingburg Village Council agreed.
Martin contacted the Miami Trace FFA advisor and agriculture instructor, Bruce Bennett, who said that building the box could be an ideal project for students to earn credit in a course called “Shop Capstone.” Bennett helped access construction plans on the LFL website and oversaw the project, which was taken on primarily by senior Sara Rowland, with assistance from senior Kaleigh Swayne. Rowland made the box both as colorful as a red barn and also reasonably weather-resistant, and even painted a row of flowers along the back.
The Bloomingburg project is registered with the Little Free Library organization, placing the Bloomingburg location on a worldwide map that can be accessed via the Internet. The organization provides, among other things, modestly priced books that can be purchased to help restock the box; but both Carnegie Public Library Director Sarah Nichols and co-founder Peggy Lester from the New Holland Community Library have expressed their willingness to provide support and share resources. (Both of those libraries have benefited in the past from Altrusa.) Jeannie Bihl, an Altrusan on the service/literacy committee and Bloomingburg resident, will supervise the operation.
Members of Altrusa International of Washington C.H., Inc. are excited about this new project for the club and new adventure in literacy for the Bloomingburg community.
This article was submitted by Altrusa International of Washington C.H.