Community library program takes off in central Oklahoma

Volunteer architects are constructing Little Free Library buildings for neighborhood associations in the Oklahoma City area.
BY NASREEN IQBAL niqbal@opubco.com Modified: January 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm •  Published: January 9, 2013
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After Georgie Rasco read an article in The Oklahoman about a Wisconsin nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing literacy worldwide and strengthening community bonds, she was struck with the same kind of inspiration and motivation that hit the organization's co-founder, Rick Brooks, three years ago.

“I read the article and immediately thought of how that kind of program could benefit Oklahoma neighborhoods,” said Rasco, executive director of The Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma.

Rasco then spread the word about the Little Free Library to neighborhoods in central Oklahoma.

She explained how, for a registration fee of $35, a neighborhood can install a Little Free Library — a handcrafted, water-resistant, miniature library — at a safe location where anyone can go to borrow and lend books by remaining loyal to the simple instructions: take a book, return a book.

“We want to bring books to children and the elderly, to adults who want to strengthen their reading skills, to people in small towns who may live somewhat isolated — to anyone who wants to read,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the organization has paired with several other community-based programs including Reach a Child, which encourages police officers to read books to child trauma victims, and the Reach Out and Read program, in which doctors prescribe families to read together with the hope of strengthening the family unit.

Brooks said by interacting with people, organizations and neighborhoods, he has learned that what people crave most is the sense of community they get through being involved.

“With all the bad news we hear, what we've seen are people wanting to do some good. With all the reasons people come to us, the sense of community trumps everything else,” Brooks said.

Rasco said she thinks a neighborhood's participation in Little Free Library can increase the quality of life, safety, property values and economy within a community.