Newberry Observer

Little Libraries sprout up in community

NEWBERRY — Literacy has grown a little in Newberry with three new Little Free Libraries, these new little libraries were installed at Speers Street School (Newberry College), Newberry Arms and Grant Homes.

According to littlefreelibrary.org, Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.

“Little Free Library, it’s like a library, except you can come get a book any hour of the day. If you really like the book, you can keep it, but you do need to bring back a book. If you have a book you wanna exchange, you can do that,” said Sarah Johnson, the Newberry College student responsible for the three new Little Free Libraries.

Last year, Johnson applied for the Muller Center Fellowship, which allowed her to install the libraries. Johnson said it was a months long process, but she decided on this project due to her love of reading.

“I was always inspired to read books, my mom loves books, my dad loves books, so I’ve always been inspired with this love of reading,” she said. “I just wanted to share that, and for me, it was just a lot about giving better access to the children of the City of Newberry, to give them a better opportunity, especially during the summer months when the literacy rates go down because they are not reading everyday, like when the are in school.”

Two of the libraries, Newberry Arms and Grant Homes, are sponsored by the Rotary Club of Newberry. Kimberly Kitchens, Rotary Club president, said they will monitor the libraries on a regular basis, and a member of Newberry Rotary is assigned to the library and will make sure they are filled.

“One of our missions of Rotary is literacy, and we feel every child within our community deserves that opportunity,” Kitchens said.

Johnson chose two of the locations because they are in low income areas.

“The amount of books in a lower income household isn’t as great, we are trying to up those numbers, while also providing a fun way for them to come and look at books everyday,” Johnson said. “These libraries provide an opportunity for children to get books more often, they kinda eliminate a lot of the problems with the public library, having to provide transportation and stuff like that.”

Johnson added that she chose Speers Street as a location because she wanted to give Newberry College an opportunity to support literacy in the community.

In order to construct and design the Free Little Libraries, Johnson received help from local businesses and schools. Johnson, along with Professor Matt Fuller’s Stagecraft class and Ronnie Garland constructed the libraries, local businesses, Willingham and Sons, Fulmer Building Supplies, Sherwin-Williams and West Electric donated supplies to construct the libraries, and students at Newberry Elementary, Boundary Elementary and Gallman Elementary painted them.

The new Free Little Library at Newberry Arms was painted by the students at Gallman Elementary School.
https://www.newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_DSC_0303.jpgThe new Free Little Library at Newberry Arms was painted by the students at Gallman Elementary School. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer
The new Free Little Library at Grant Homes was painted by the students at Newberry Elementary School.
https://www.newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_DSC_0250.jpgThe new Free Little Library at Grant Homes was painted by the students at Newberry Elementary School. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer
Children race up to get books at the new Free Little Library at the Newberry Arms.
https://www.newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_DSC_0296.jpgChildren race up to get books at the new Free Little Library at the Newberry Arms. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer
Students ready to get a new book at the Free Little Library at Grant Homes.
https://www.newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_DSC_0238.jpgStudents ready to get a new book at the Free Little Library at Grant Homes. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer
The Grant Homes’ Free Little Library.
https://www.newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_DSC_0232.jpgThe Grant Homes’ Free Little Library. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer

By Andrew Wigger

awigger@newberryobserver.com

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.