Little Free Libraries Come to New Richmond
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. - Walt Disney
In 2016 while working with elementary students during summer school, New Richmond Middle School teacher Ms. Andrea Schultz was burdened by the number of kindergarteners struggling with letters and sounds. She recognized the need to tackle these learning concepts early on before kids reached school-age. Though she was there to pour into kids during summer school, she began exploring ideas to be proactive in meeting these needs early on. It was this moment that paved the pathway for our communities very own Little Free Libraries (LFL).
“As a middle school reading teacher, literacy is near and dear to my heart. I see so many middle school kids that struggle with basic reading skills, stated Schultz, “I believe if we can put books in their hands when they are toddlers, they might not have to start school playing catch up.”
For the next two years, Schultz worked tirelessly to land LFL locations. She worked with Amy Weiskittle of the New Richmond Education Foundation on writing grants, collected books from local library giveaways, and partnered with the NRHS Book Club Advisor Michelle Senter to reach out to the District’s Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) for donations.
Catching wind that the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati was giving Free Little Libraries away, she applied for one immediately. Within a week, Schultz picked up the first LFL and two boxes of books. Not only was one LFL secured, but the NRMS/HS PTO’s agreed to donate money to help fund an additional three libraries which will hopefully be installed by early spring.
Currently, there is an LFL at Willow and Union Street and one on the way at the Market Street building. Working on the honor system, the libraries will be stocked with books and people are free to borrow or donate books.
“Promoting literacy across the district is my primary goal. I want to get families reading that may not have easy access to books,” stated Schultz. “If we can reach kids before they reach school, maybe they won't be behind and will have the fundamental literacy skills to succeed once they do enter the school system.”