DeKalb, Genoa to get Little Free Libraries

DeKALB – DeKalb County is on track to have three new Little Free Libraries soon – two in DeKalb and one in Genoa.

“It’s basically part of our broader community outreach effort, specifically aimed at Latino children and families,” said Evan King, outreach coordinator for the Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic at Northern Illinois University, which is responsible for the DeKalb effort.

Little Free Library is a national program that provides weather-resistant boxes to people and groups who fill the receptacles with books. The boxes are stocked on the honor system, and people can borrow the books free of charge, any time of day and every day of the year.

One of the functions of the literacy clinic is to provide reading support services for about 400 local K-12 students. King is working with NIU’s Latino Resource Center to coordinate the placement of two Little Free Library boxes in DeKalb that will be stocked with $1,000 worth of mostly bilingual books.

After noticing that many Latino children speak better English than their parents, King wondered how he could get “English-literate children to read with Spanish-literate parents.” He decided to address the problem by stocking the Little Free Libraries with bilingual books, which have Spanish text at the top of each page and English on the bottom.

The two weather-resistant Little Free Libraries are converted Daily Chronicle vending machines covered with vinyl signs made by Northern Illinois Sign. One of the libraries will be outside AB Supermarket at 1612 Sycamore Road, and one will be outside Flamingo Restaurant and Ice Cream at 1029 Pleasant St. Both libraries will be officially placed and stocked with books on Friday, Oct. 18.

In Genoa, Ryan Read has turned to crowdfunding to raise $450 for a Little Free Library in the Riverbend neighborhood. The receptacle would primarily benefit rural residents in the Genoa/Kingston area who are not eligible for free library cards. Read has started a campaign on Kickstarter that runs through Friday, Nov. 8.

“I believe the Little Free Library is the answer to providing reading to the community,” Read said. He intends to use the donations to purchase and install a free-standing Amish-style structure.

“It’s double-storied and it should hold 20 to 25 books or more,” he said.

For information or to donate to the project, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1512779405/a-little-free-library-for-genoa-kingston-il.

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