Ava Kuehner, a student at Valrico Elementary School, opened a neighborhood library on Valentine’s Day.

By Karin Davis-Thompson

When Ava told her mom what she wanted to do, she was proud and nervous at the same time. Ava wanted to start a free library for her neighborhood to foster a love for reading and make books accessible for those who may not be able to get books easily.

It all started after a visit to donate books to the Bloomingdale Free Library. While it made Ava feel good to have the chance to donate, it also got her to thinking—why not start a free library in her own neighborhood? So the 9-year-old got to work.

“First, I asked the Bloomingdale Little Free Library a lot of questions,” said Ava, a fourth grader at Valrico Elementary School. “Then I drew up a plan on a sheet of paper.”

After that, Ava was ready to go—getting the word out, gathering donations and building the structure she would need to set up what she decided to call the Little Loving Library.
On Valentine’s Day, the library opened to the public. Ava said choosing that holiday was intentional.

“I wanted to open on Valentine’s Day because it is called the loving library,” she said.

Ava’s mom, Lacey Kuehner, said the family is proud of Ava’s drive and determination. She said she is grateful to everyone who helped her make her dream come true.

“It’s truly been a community effort bringing her Living Loving Library to life,” said Kuehner. “We hope it encourages others to never stop reading and learning.”

The library is now open to the neighborhood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People can take a book, leave a book or both. Ava said she hopes her love of reading rubs off on those who stop by.

“I like that when you get glued to a good book you can’t stop reading,” she said. “It makes you realize just how much fun books can actually be.”

To learn more about the Little Loving Library, search for the Little Loving Library Facebook group. To donate to the library’s wish list, go to Amazon’s website and search for the Little Loving Library Wish List.

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