There’s a small wooden box resting on a pole outside of Auburn School. When you first pass you might mistake it for an over-sized bird house, but if you look closer you will notice something amazing. There are books inside! It’s called The Little Free Library.
“Take a Book, Leave a Book is the motto of the simple phenomenon that has spread across the nation and into other countries,” said Tanner Morrow, one of the eighth grade students at Auburn Middle School (AMS) who helped lead the project. The Little Free Library helps make books available to everyone. It is always open, no library card is needed, and no book return required. Simply look through the books and take one you would like to read. The next time you drop by you may choose to donate a gently used book or books that you think others might enjoy.
“It’s like a community book swap,” said Carla Abbott, librarian at Auburn School and steward of the school’s Little Free Library.
At the beginning of the school year, members of the Auburn Middle School’s Wonder Club wanted to do something valuable that could make a lasting difference. Tanner, along with fellow eighth grader Louis Scott, began researching The Little Free Library movement and shared it with others in the small group. Collier Kempf and Noah Sturgill, also eighth graders, knew they also wanted to be a part of it and joined the cause. To ensure that The Little Free Library will continue on in the Auburn community, seventh graders Sarah Cassady and Mollianne Crawford were asked and enthusiastically committed to the group. Two six graders will be added to the committee next year.
“Because we want to empower our students through real life experiences, the students spear-headed the project from beginning to end,” Abbott said. A formal PowerPoint presentation was delivered to principal David Ward, assistant principal Kristina Rice, and others to share the group’s vision and gain approval to move forward with the project.
“I am always amazed at the creative and helpful things our students dream up to make our school a great place,” Ward said.
With the needed materials determined and costs involved, the six students began the process of fund raising by working at the school concession stand, placing donation boxes, and giving away old books for quarter donations. After the money was raised, the students partnered with Logan County High School Fundamentals of Engineering Design class, under the supervision of technology teacher Jamie Scott, to construct the library. April Engler, science and agricultural enrichment teacher at AMS, worked with the students to install the Little Free Library.
“We are so proud and excited about seeing the Auburn Little Free Library in place,” said Louis Scott. “The bench encourages patrons to sit and enjoying reading.”
“Future book drives will help to keep a supply of books if the shelves ever run low,” Sarah said, adding that developing a library garden on the school’s playground is something they hope to someday see.
“I am excited to see what the future holds for our Little Free Library and the future committee members,” said Mollianne.
The group hopes that The Little Free Library will encourage reading in the Auburn community for years to come. Find out more at www.littlefreelibrary.org. And be sure to stop by the Little Free Library at Auburn School to pick up some summer reading or leave a book for others to enjoy.