A new Little Free Library has been installed in the town of Lincoln by Junior Sarah Fellingham. Sarah has installed this free library at Manville Park for her exhibition project. Exhibition is a graduation requirement that juniors take each year. It is an oral presentation where students prepare a topic of their choice for a whole semester. Over the summer while Fellingham was in Little Compton she knew what she wanted to do for exhibition project.
“I was in Little Compton when I saw a Little Free Library for the first time,” said junior Sarah Fellingham. “I looked into the organization, and I noticed there wasn’t one in Lincoln. I wanted to change that,” Sarah explained.
A Little Free Library is nonprofit organization where people can bring books and in and take them out for free . In 2009, Todd Bol created the first LFL, and since then 60,000 structures have been registered across the globe. One million books are exchanged every year through this organization. The purpose of the libraries are to inspire the love of reading to all.
Sarah chose to take on this project because she wanted to encourage youth literacy in Lincoln. “I’ve always had a passion for reading,” she said with a smile,“I wanted to be able to share my passion with children around my town.”
After doing some research on literacy in Lincoln, Sarah was shocked by the numbers she received from the Lincoln Public Library. Only 30 percent of the books taken out of the public library are children’s books and only four percent of books taken out of the public library are young adult books. Seeing these numbers inspired Sarah to do something about it.
For exhibition projects, students have to learn a new skill or complete a physical product. Sarah decided to build a Little Free Library herself. One of these libraries looks like a large birdhouse, with two shelves to hold the books. The total cost for building the LFL was $300, and she was able to build this with some funding from the town. Both Northern and Central Elementary school’s PACT programs donated one-hundred and fifty dollars each. The Family Literacy Center also donated books, which was a big help.
Before completing her project, Sarah contacted Town Administrator Joseph Almond and the Lincoln Parks and Recreation department to receive approval. Sarah also reached out to the parents of elementary school students to see what they thought about the Little Free Library. Eighty-eight percent of the parents said that they would support a LFL. Parents also said that their children go to the playground more than they do the library, therefore it would be beneficial to place the little free library at the playground.
In order for Sarah to raise awareness about her new Little Free Library, she sent a flyer home with students from Central Elementary school. Sarah also contacted the Valley Breeze to spread the word about the new LFL at Manville Park.
“I learned a lot about construction and how much little free libraries help people around the world when it comes to reading,” Sarah explained passionately. Sarah said she learned a lot from her project, and because of her passion for reading and the results she has already received, she would like to continue through with this process.
Although the exhibition project is over, Sarah has not stopped there, continuing to work on building more little libraries to add to the other parks in the town of Lincoln to encourage youth literacy.