Little libraries are building a community of devoted readers

With digital technology becoming more prominent than ever, many people long for the days dipping their head and escape to a place of isolated relaxation.

There are many ways find books. Libraries and bookstores keep people’s curiosity going. But there are a few places popping up in the outer and inner VWU community that bring the power of books to a community level.

“Give a book, Take a Book” boxes have been popping up in our Hampton Roads community from Ghent, to Chick’s Beach, to Bayside High School, and even in our own 24-hour lounge.

“I love them and I think they are a good idea,” said senior Kaci Wertz. “I think it encourages people to read because some people don’t have access to library. This will make reading for everyone and not just for people who have the means to get to a library or buy their own books.”

These products are a campaign run by Little Free Library. According to its website, 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. The first one was built in 2009 and since then, the companies have put over 60,000 libraries in communities all over the country.

The setup of the system allows for people to take books as they see ones they like, and in return, they are encouraged to donate books that they have. The system is constantly giving and receiving books of all different sorts of genres.

“I found a book about fishing for my boyfriend and we got to enjoy together. It was something that we were able to enjoy together because of the boxes,” senior Gabrielle Adams said.  

These little libraries offer more than what is on an average bookshelf in a store. These being open to the community, people put books that interest them in it, making each box a different treasure.

“I like the fact that you can see what the other people around you are reading and like where they’re coming from because I can tell a lot about a person from the types of books that they are interested in reading,” senior Tayler Wilson said. “I think that those kinds of interests are really cool on a cultural basis and good for our community.”

Though the boxes are full of discovery, some want to see more variety of books available.

“Other than being really cute, I would like to see more kids books available. Kids need those books and it gives them a chance to cherish reading and practice literacy,” junior Amber McDonald said.

Nevertheless, these boxes were designed with the community in mind. Some local boxes are located at Bayside High School, on Beaufort Avenue near the entrance to the beach, and on the bookshelf next to the vending machines in the 24-hour lounge.

Julie Ainsley