Seven ‘Little Free Libraries’ Installed in Pasadena Neighborhoods

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6:19 am | November 17, 2016


District 3 Councilmember John J. Kennedy and the Flintridge Center’s Apprenticeship Preparation Program launched seven Little Free Libraries in various locations in Northwest Pasadena Tuesday morning to encourage reading within the community through its simple “take a book, return a book” exchange initiative.

These small structures that look like tiny houses and are larger than the average mailbox plan to provide a reading experience that is accessible and unique to neighborhoods throughout the city.

“Libraries are a pathway to knowledge. As we build this network of little libraries, I ask that you would encourage young people to take advantage of this opportunity,” said District 3 Councilmember John Kennedy.

The Little Free Libraries come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share, according to a press release.

“This is an exciting project that I can’t wait to get behind,” said Pasadena Public Library Deputy Director Timothy McDonald.

In many places, Little Libraries have been called “mini-town squares” because they have a unique, personal touch and there is an understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books with the community.

The idea for Little Free Libraries started in 2009, when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a school teacher who loved to read. Bol filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard; his neighbors and friends so loved it that he built several more and gave them away.

“This project puts the books in a lot of people’s hands and that’s exciting. This city is embracing literacy,” said McDonald.

Pasadena is one of the only places in the U.S. where residents live within one mile from a library, according to McDonald.

“This represents the best of Pasadena and it will be an immediate benefit,” said Mayor Terry Tornek’s Field Representative Rhonda Stone.

Pasadena’s Flintridge Center is a supporter and provider of hope and opportunities to individuals of high-risk, high-need circumstances from various communities in the Los Angeles County and is the brains and brawn behind the construction of little libraries.

“We’re going to construct these libraries together and then we’re going to go around town and plant them where we are able to,” said Daniel Torres from the Flintridge Center.

Participants in Flintridge Center’s Apprenticeship Preparation Program will be building the Little Free Libraries.

These individuals range from middle school youth to adults and include the formerly incarcerated, previously gang-involved, and those most susceptible to heading towards the path of violence and incarceration, according to the Flintridge Center website.

Each year, over 500 individuals seek the services provided by Flintridge to transform their lives, reach their full potential, and become contributing and self-sufficient members of our communities.

“This is an investment in people and in the community,” said Torres.

Anyone can help build a Little Free Library using models from www.littlefreelibrary.org. During next Tuesday’s LFL build, Councilmember Kennedy and the Flintridge Foundation Apprenticeship Preparation Program will have models and kits anyone can use to build the unit.

Four of the seven Little Free Library locations include 1100 block of N. Marengo Ave., 900 block of N. Garfield Ave., 900 block of E. Walnut St. and 100 block of E. Washington Blvd.

“Everything positive in District Three is because of people like you and me working together. All of us are building one community,” said Kennedy.