Bradford County Library Celebrates ‘Little Free Libraries’

The Little Free Library at top is located in Towanda on the Merrill Parkway across from the Bradford County Tourism Agency and Napp Chiropractic Center. Charter # 69941. Stewards often reward young readers by staging entertaining and useful items. Pictured above in 2016, Matt Carl, President of LeRoy Heritage Museum; June Wynne, president of Alpha Zeta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma; Vicki VanNoy, steward of this Chartered Little Free Library; Adam Bastion, builder. 

What started as a simple idea became a global literacy movement. The first Little Free Library book-sharing box – Take a Book – Leave a Book – was built in 2009 in Wisconsin. Today there are 100,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 108 countries, from Argentina to Zambia.

The Little Free Library nonprofit organization is at the heart of this phenomenon. The growing network shares its mission to inspire a love of reading, build community, and provide book access for all. It has web pages of information and social media forums to support and inspire Stewards – the people who maintain the boxes in working order. 

Throughout Bradford County, Little Free Libraries are being placed by people/groups/clubs who share that outlook. These Stewards secure permission for a location, acquire a “box”, find sources for books, and then put it into operation.  

Vicki Van Noy has been the Steward of the Little Free Library in LeRoy for five years. When her group registered with the Little Free Library Organization, they were sent a Steward’s Manual packed full of encouragement, information and advice. “We had a group that sponsored our startup: the local branch of Delta Kappa Gamma International, an honorary society of current and retired women educators. The thing that keeps me enthused is to see evidence of people using the books. One week it will be Romance books that are gone, the next week it might be children’s books. Then the Mysteries will be moving. A great sign of our community really getting on board with our Little Free Library is seeing more of the ‘leave a book’ part of the activity.” 

Little Free Libraries are wonderful!” Rosemary Wynott, the Bradford County Bookmobile Clerk explains, “There is so much competition for people’s time these days. Little Free Libraries work with anyone’s schedule because they offer easy access anytime. In small concentrated communities, people don’t need a car ride to get books.”  

Reading is essential for everything from assessing a new insurance policy to enjoying greeting cards from your loved ones. It’s a skill that needs practice,” explains Bradford County Library Trustee Lynda Warner. “The more you practice, the better you get.”  

Bradford County Library Director Jeff Singer is pleased to be assisting the Little Free Library movement in the county, “We see our role as supporters of the Stewards; helping them connect with experienced stewards and information. We’ll facilitate online orientation meetings and when possible also offer them in our meeting room.”  

Since Little Free Libraries started in 2009, amazing things have happened:   

● More than 165 million books have been shared through registered Little Free Libraries, profoundly increasing book access for readers of all ages and backgrounds.   

LFL has been awarded GuideStar’s respected Platinum Seal of Transparency, as well as recognition from the Library of Congress, the National Book Foundation, Library Journal, the Women’s National Book Association, and more.     

Anyone interested in more information about starting up a Little Free Library is welcome to contact the Bradford County Library regarding upcoming online meetings – phone: 570-297-2436 or email:  

This Little Free Library is in Wells Township. Its Steward, a local resident, is also a teacher.

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