Brittany Lewis, Tonya McGuire and Chrissy Yoder, members of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Champaign County Class of 2019, held a ribbon-cutting for the “Little Free Library” at the Gwynne Street Park on April 17. They also established such a library at Melvin Miller Park, and others are in the works. The trio chose the Little Free Library initiative to provide books to kids, families and neighbors.
Little Free Libraries are small book exchanges, usually located outdoors. The public can take books that interest them and leave books for others to read. To be officially called a Little Free Library, a free book exchange must be registered with an official charter sign and charter number. As of early 2019, there were more than 80,000 registered libraries in all 50 states and in 90+ countries, according to the Little Free Library website.
The project began with McGuire registering four libraries, while Yoder got to work constructing the libraries and collecting book donations. Lewis is managing funds and working with the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.
“Without the help of Adam Moore, Urbana city zoning, and Ryan Lantz, operations of parks manager, we would not have been able to put the libraries in the parks where they are easily accessible to everyone,” said Lewis.
“The Little Free Libraries do not just belong to us. They belong to the community, and hopefully it brings happiness to the kids in the area,” Yoder said.
“We just want to get books in the hands of children as much as possible,” Yoder said. “We’re hoping that not only does inspire a love of books and reading, but also a lesson in giving back.”
Plans are to add libraries at Lions Park in West Liberty and at the Concord Community Center Park.
The project is being sponsored by Lewis Farms, McGuire Farm and Excavating LLC, Security National Bank and Yoder Grain Farms. Book and monetary donations may be made to the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.
Submitted by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.