Spread the word: Retired teacher opens Little Free Library at her West Jordan home
Oct 01, 2019 10:49AM
● By Jordan Hafford
Lorna Young proudly displays her barn-themed Little Free Library at her open house this past August. (Heidi Fawcett)
By Jordan Hafford | [email protected]
Upon visiting the home of West Jordan resident Lorna Young, you may assume she houses garden gnomes or has an elaborate bird house perched on her lawn. But this kitschy little red barn isn’t for animals, it’s for readers.
“I am a retired teacher, and as a result have acquired a lot of books over the years,” said Lorna Young. “I heard about these Little Free Libraries and got excited about the idea of sharing the love of reading with friends and neighbors.”
Little Free Libraries is a worldwide nonprofit organization that was started in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin, to help bring books to neighborhoods everywhere.
“The mission is to inspire a love of reading, build community and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world,” according to its website, littlefreelibrary.org.
The purpose is much like a regular library: Anyone and everyone is encouraged to take a book to read, entirely for free. In exchange, they are asked (but not required) to leave a book of their own bringing to keep reading inventory in circulation.
Some books are left with notes marking who had it last, as a fun form of tracking the books whereabouts. When finished with the book, readers are told to pass it along to a friend or return it to any Little Free Library.
Young said the general idea is to “Take books, share books and leave books!”
Those looking after their own libraries, such as Young, are referred to as “stewards” and have total creative license to make their little libraries look however they’d like.
Young, along with her neighbor Kurt Munson, built her library to look like a quaint little red barn. Its vibrant color is likely to attract many avid readers and is one of several in the West Jordan area.
Often, these stewards will leave small surprises for their visitors such as bookmarks, treats, school supplies and dog treats.
According to its website, littlefreelibrary.org, there are more than 90,000 registered Little Free Library book-sharing boxes in 91 countries worldwide. There is a map on the site where those interested are free to locate the libraries within their area.
Young hosted an open house to celebrate the opening of her own Little Free Library in mid-August, during the last breath of summer before giving way to autumn and school days.
“I had a guest book for patrons to sign, bookmarks to share, treats and a Book Bag raffle to raise money for more books,” said Young. “The open house was well-attended, and it is my hope that many neighbors will use the library to enjoy sharing their love of reading also!”
As a former teacher, Young hopes to expand upon her passion for learning and reading by participating in the program herself. Making a book exchange that is convenient and accessible to members of the community is important to her and her life’s work.
The Little Free Library program has become a great opportunity for Young to support the continuing education and imaginations of all her friends, family and neighbors.