SYCAMORE – On the first day of school, the students at North Elementary School returned to find a new library.
It’s little, it’s free and it’s open to anyone in the community.
“Every single one of the teachers wanted to be part of this because they believe in you and they believe in reading,” first-grade teacher Sarah Alexander told the student body as it gathered in front of the school, where four new Little Free Library receptacles were mounted to the front of the building.
Little Free Library is a national program that provides small house-like structures to schools, community groups and individuals. The groups fill the receptacles with books and rely on the honor system to lend books to children and adults free of charge, any time of day and every day of the year.
Fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Parsons made the library a reality.
“It was my brainchild,” she said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday. “I saw it and I brought it to the staff, and then I went to the Sycamore Education Foundation to get the grant. ... The entire staff bought into it because it brings books to kids.”
She said many of the families around North Elementary School live in unincorporated areas of Sycamore, and as a result are not eligible for free library cards.
The foundation’s grant paid for the four minilibraries, one each for grades kindergarten and first-grade, second- and third-grade, fourth- and fifth-grade, and the “just for parents” exchange for adults. The starter books were donated by teachers and staff at the school.
Alyssa Losselyoung, vice president of the school’s PTO, said the PTO has agreed to purchase more books for the little libraries when the Scholastic book fair comes to the school next month.
This is the first Little Free Library at a school in DeKalb County. The organization’s website says that between 5,000 and 6,000 Little Free Libraries have been established in 36 countries since the organization was founded in January 2010. Children can borrow books and can even keep any they particularly like, and they can donate books from home back to the library.
“The only way this will work is if we all take care of them,” Alexander told the assembly.