Teamwork to Create Little Libraries

Retirees, moms & young kids, artists, boy scouts & their dads, high school students, hobbyists… what do all of these people have in common? A passion for service and giving back to the community. As part of our COVID-19 response, Access Books Bay Area launched the little library book box program in late 2020. These little libraries are helping to keep students reading during temporary school and public library closures, in the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

It really does take a village. Let’s look at all of the volunteers involved in creating and installing & stocking our little libraries.

Step 1: BUILDING THE LITTLE LIBRARY

A variety of volunteers have stepped up to physically construct the libraries – High School volunteers from BayReach, the Campolindo High School Book Club, families with kids, and more. The Silicon Valley chapter of the Young Men’s Service League has recently committed to building 6 little libraries. Pictured below is one of Access Books Bay Area’s enthusiastic repeat volunteers, Marsha Dyslin, who took this on as a family service project. She worked with her husband and adult daughter to build two book boxes.

Marsha, her husband, and daughter posing with their book box

Step 2: PAINTING THE LITTLE LIBRARY

Sometimes the builder also paints the little library, but more often, we’ve had a separate volunteer with artistic inclinations decorate the little library. We’ve had more than a dozen volunteer artists paint these little libraries – families, the attorneys from our sponsor Shearman & Sterling, high school and college student volunteers, a girl scout, local artist Judy Lin of Los Altos, and Access Books Bay Area’s resident muralist Cecilia Jones and her family. The results have been colorful, whimsical, and a delight to the children who visit these little libraries.

Penguin design by Judy Lin
Student Sophie Surdilla and her bear design

Step 3: FILLING THE LITTLE LIBRARY

Each little library needs to be filled with appealing high-interest books for the kids! To fill the need, many volunteers have stepped up to conduct book drives within their communities throughout the Bay Area. The many recent book drive volunteers include Youth Community Service teens, MLK Day of Service volunteers, Born this Way Foundation, Livermore 4H club, Youth Activism Society, and many families with kids! A book drive service project is a great way to get kids engaged in their community.

Calib & Calista of Livermore delivering books from their 4H book drive
Volunteers from the Youth Activism Society delivering books from their book drive

Step 4: INSTALLATION DAY

These little libraries need to be installed permanently and securely, and it takes a special kind of volunteer to do that job! We’ve had many volunteers step up to do these installations, including families, the BayReach high school volunteers, and most notably, Boy Scouts! A special shout-out to Scout Troop 57 of Palo Alto, who became an installation specialist crew. Eight families from Troop 57 have installed little libraries at eight schools, with more to come. 

Scouts and their dad installing a little library at Lyndale Elementary
A Scout and her dad installing a little library at Lairon School

Our enthusiastic volunteers have shared how rewarding the experience of building, designing, and/or installing a book box can be. They particularly enjoyed spending time with their families and fellow volunteers, doing a fun activity while also giving back to their community. 

All told, between the building, the painting, the book drives, and the installation, we’ve had a diverse set of more than 60 volunteers contribute to our little library program so far – each working on their individual part, in a Covid-safe way.

Help us get books into the hands of children in need by building, designing/painting, stocking, or installing our next little library!

VOLUNTEER

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