Hollister has a place that encourages reading and helps build family bonds through the love of reading together.
The grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the Little Free Library were it was canceled. While the Little Free Library has been open for more than a year, the ribbon-cutting celebration, sponsored by the Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce, took place on Tuesday, May 18 at the Chad Fuqua Memorial Park in Hollister.
According to an email from Hollister R-V School District Communications Director Kim Connell, the Little Free Library is important for Hollister, because many families do not have funds to buy books or resources to get books. Another reason it is important is that families in Hollister may not have transportation to Taneyhills Library in Branson or the funds to purchase a library car.
“The Little Free Library was started after a discussion at a Parents as Teachers Community Advisory Committee meeting discussing the importance of early literacy and how access to books can be improved in our community,” said Lead Parent Educator for Hollister School Districts Parents as Teachers Traci Canote.
Books create warm emotional bonds between adults and kids when they read books together. Books help kids develop basic language skills and profoundly expand their vocabulary, according to the email.
According to the Little Free Library website, LFL is a nonprofit that builds community, inspires readers, and expands book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries. LFL’s goal is to address the growing literacy crisis around the world.
Today in the United States, more than 30 million adults cannot read or write above a third-grade level. Studies have repeatedly shown that books in the hands of children have a meaningful impact on improving literacy. The more books in or near the home, the more likely a child will learn and love to read. But two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own, according to the website.
According to the website, the LFL has done a lot to fight the literacy crisis around the world including:
More than 165 million books have been shared through registered Little Free Libraries, profoundly increasing book access for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Thousands of neighbors have connected for the first time, building stronger and friendlier communities. The Impact Library Program, which began in 2016, has provided more than 1,000 Little Free Libraries at no cost to communities where they’re needed most.
The Native American Initiative has provided little libraries full of books to native communities in partnership with tribal leaders and organizations. The Action Book Club, which launched in 2017, has inspired thousands of participants to read books, spread kindness, and work together to improve their communities. The 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. The Hollister LFL is located at the Chad Fuqua Memorial Park next to city hall, according to the email. “The location of Chad Fuqua Memorial Park was decided upon due to its proximity to downtown residents,” said Canote. “We wanted a central location that is accessible to families regardless of transportation.”
According to the website, LFL are book-sharing boxes that play an essential role by providing access to books and encouraging a love of reading in areas where books are scarce. At the Little Free Library nonprofit, they work to fill book deserts and grant libraries to underserved communities through our Impact Library Program and other initiatives.
In Hollister, the idea of a book-sharing library makes it easy for people to not only get books to read but to donate to the LFL as well, according to Canote. “Anyone can donate books. When an individual visits the library they are invited to take a book, leave a book, or both,” said Canote. “Our Little Free Library was created with young children (in) mind, however, the donated books have expanded to include books for all ages.” The benefit of the Hollister LFL has already been felt by the community, according to Canote.
“The benefits of having books available to a community is huge,” said Canote. “Our primary goal is that children will enjoy books with their parents and grow to love reading. We know that an early love of reading promotes success in school which is one of our program goals.”
For more information visit littlefreelibrary.org/.