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Nonprofit, Arizona Companies Promote Little Free Libraries to Increase Childhood Literacy
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28 March 2016   Lauren Michaels | Cronkite News
Two Little Free Libraries are displayed in front of homes in Phoenix Photo by Lauren Michaels/Cronkite News

The Little Free Library movement encourages communities to build and install free-standing, outdoor boxes that provide a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange.

PHOENIX – Many of us take books for granted. But studies show that in low-income communities, there is only one book for every 300 kids, according to local nonprofit Southwest Human Development. Compare that to middle- to high-income communities, where every child has access to 13 books.

Local nonprofits and companies have become involved in a national effort to change those statistics. The Little Free Library movement encourages communities to build and install free-standing, outdoor boxes that provide a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange.

The Valley has about 30 such libraries from individuals who generally place them in their own neighborhoods. These libraries contain both children’s and adult books. But Southwest Human Development has promoted the effort to businesses and individuals to increase the number of these libraries – built specifically for children – they want to place in low-income communities.

Don Krug, a Phoenix teacher from Metro Tech High School built one of the libraries as part of the nonprofit’s efforts. To him, building one means so much more from his first-hand experience.

“The kids come into school and because they haven’t had the exposure to books and they haven’t been read to, they come in below where they should be at for comprehension,” Krug said.

Krug said this is his way of making a difference outside his classroom.

“As a teacher, you’re always trying to reach out,” he said. “This is an opportunity to reach out to a whole different group of kids, and I get to do it through my hobby.”

Read more and see video: Nonprofit, Local Companies Promote Little Free Libraries to Increase Childhood Literacy