Increased access to books in the home is thought to increase children’s reading proficiency, yet the U.S. Department of Education estimates that up to 61% of low-income families do not have any books for their children at home. Children may not have access to their local library simply because of distance or parents not having time to take them during the day. It’s a need Chris Rexroad saw in her own backyard and worked to fix.
Rexroad, a VPK teacher with Primrose South Tampa, knew how important building early reading skills is to a student’s later success: “I’m a big proponent of reading. This is one of the major things that I do with my kids. I don’t just want to teach them the skills they need to be readers, but I want to get them excited about reading.” However, when she drove home to Brandon, she noticed a need in speaking to the children who live on her street for whom she often buys books. This is where the idea for a Little Free Library took root.
With the help of her Bay Life Bible study group who worked together to build the container to house the books, a grant from Thrivent Financial, and book donations from Primrose of South Tampa, Rexroad is set to have the grand opening by the end of February or early March.
Once open, the Little Free Library works as a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange that builds community and a love of reading. “I was a huge reader as a kid. I want kids to have access to books,”
Rexroad reiterates, as she already sees the love of reading developing in the few children who live next door. She cannot wait to expand this service to her entire neighborhood.
For more information or to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org and keep checking Facebook for grand opening information: www.facebook.com/Brandon-Little-Free-Library-165528494089586/. Visit littlefreelibrary.org for more information on the non-profit or to start your own.
The Brandon Little Free Library will be located at 827 Louise St., Brandon, 33511.