I’ve known about Little Free Libraries for awhile now, and since I learned about them I wanted to help establish one at our school. I was waiting for just the right moment. This summer I attended the Decatur Book Festival and saw several creative Little Free Libraries that were being auctioned off and it made me want to establish one even more. I posted a picture of the libraries on our media center facebook page and immediately Ms. Cross, a 5th grade teacher, said she wanted to help make this happen at our school. Her comment made me think about the gift that our 5th grade gives to the school at Moving On Ceremony at the end of each year as a way for the 5th graders to make their mark on the school before they leave. Since our 5th graders won’t get the opportunity to go to school in our brand new building next year, I thought this year’s gift needed to be extra special. I had found the perfect fit for the idea.
I began talking with people at our school about the project. As always, our art teacher, Rita Foretich, was on board to help weave this project into an interdisciplinary experience. Other teachers in the school that don’t even work with our 5th graders began offering ideas too and within a few days our spark of idea was really starting to grow.
I sat down with Mrs. Foretich and we did an initial brainstorming of what our project might look like. We thought of materials, resources, locations, and also a sequence of events that would need to happen in order for the project to be done by the end of the year. Our plan consisted of: an intro to Little Free Libraries for the whole 5th grade, persuasive writing in 5th grade classroom, continued research and conversation in the media center, and little free library designs and artwork in art. I took our plan to the 5th grade team for feedback and additions. The teachers brainstormed ways for the students to really take ownership of the project such as donating their own books to stock the libraries and bringing in $1 each to cover the registration for the 2 libraries.
We launched into the first phase right after this session. I made a short introduction video using screencast-o-matic and uploaded it to Youtube. Mrs. Foretich showed the video at the beginning of an art class.
As she showed it, the kids immediately began having ideas and wanting to contribute them. She developed a Google form to share with the students so that they could all submit their feedback without taking up too much of the class time to hold a discussion. Mrs. Foretich’s student teacher also began contributing her knowledge and connections to UGA.
The next step will be for the student to brainstorm more about the materials, labor, and location so that they can begin writing persuasive letters to individuals and organizations for support.
Our goal is to create 2 Little Free Libraries by the end of the year. One will be installed at the new Barrow and one will be installed somewhere near downtown so it is accessible to our students and the community on that end of town. Who knows what this project will develop into, but it is already full of participatory culture as more and more people contribute their ideas, their expertise, and their creativity.
If you have ideas or resources for this project, feel free to leave them in the comments or contact our library.