CONCORD TWP. — 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 Concord Community Center Park on Sept. 8. 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 mid-2020, there were more than 100,000 registered libraries in all 50 states and in 100+ countries, according to the Little Free Library website.
The project began in 2019 with McGuire registering four libraries, while Yoder constructed the libraries and is collecting book donations. Lewis is managing funds and working with the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. There have since been two libraries established in Urbana providing books for children over a year. These libraries are located at Melvin Miller Park and the Gwynne Street Park.
“We sincerely appreciate the Concord Community Center board. Without their support, we would not have been able to place the library in such an accessible location,” said Lewis.
“The Little Free Libraries do not just belong to us. They belong to the community. When supporting literacy, we all are supporting each other by working together and those outcomes can be pretty powerful,” Yoder said.
“Statistics show that between kindergarten and 12th grade, students with an average daily reading time of 30 or more minutes are projected to encounter 13.7 million words, so they should learn around 13,700 new vocabulary words from independent reading practice alone,” McGuire added. “The more books we can get in the hands of our youth, the better.”
The project is being sponsored by Lewis Farms, McGuire Farm and Excavating LLC, Park 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.