UNION — The Union Housing Authority provides a number of services for the community it serves and that now includes books courtesy of the “First Free Little Library” outside its Resident Services Office.
In a ceremony Wednesday afternoon, City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson cut the ribbon formally dedicating and opening the First Free Little Library, the first of three that will soon be open in Union.
The First Free Little Library provides books that children and/or families with children can take home and read for free and then return them so others can read them and get more books as well. In addition to providing books, the First Free Little Library provides the public with the opportunities to donate books.
“The purpose of the Little Library is to get books into the hands of children who may not have them at home,” Lisa Hartley, Executive Director of the Union County Pregnancy Center, said. “The idea behind the program is take the book, leave the book. We realize some families may not have any books, but that others have some their children have outgrown and they can donate them.”
The other two First Free Little Libraries will be located on Main Street near the Union County Pregnancy Center and at the Farmer’s Market in front of the Union County YMCA.
The library at the UHA’s Resident Services Office and the others that will soon be opened are made possible by a community grant from the Save the Children and Reach Out And Read Innovative Approaches to Literacy Initiative. The funding was used through a partnership between Save The Children and Union County Pregnancy Center to support the First Free Little Library program.
The funds were also used for the “My First Libraries” program for children under the ages of 2. They program provides each family with 25 age appropriate books and a learning toy. With the grant, Save The Children and the Pregnancy Center were able to provide 15 families with My First Libraries.
“It is an exciting initiative which gives families an opportunity to incorporate reading into their everyday activities,” Shemika Williams, Save the Children Community Literacy Manager for Innovative Approaches to Literacy, said. “The First Little Library is a good opportunity for us to encourage families to read to their children from an early age. We just want to make sure they have access to reading materials not only in the community but in the home. The Free Little Library we placed at the Housing Authority is an initiative for us to provide reading materials in a non-traditional manner.”
The location of the First Free Little Library at the Resident Services Office was the result of a collaboration of the Pregnancy Center, the UHA, and Save the Children.
“I’m glad that we were chosen as one of the sites,” UHA Resident Initiative Coordinator Carolyn Rutherford-Harris said. “It will benefit our children.”
The new Little Library is also a partnership with Union County School. Union County Career Center students in Mr. Chris Ketterman’s second year Building and Construction class built the Little Library boxes and the Mrs. Pascall’s third year art class painted the libraries.
In addition, National Honor Society students from Union County High School read to children every Thursday from 5-6 p.m. The children receive a free book each week.
For more information about the mini-libraries and to find additional information contact Lisa Hartley at 864-426-2824 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.