Driving past Wallace Elementary, you might notice two little houses on stakes near the entrances. They’re not large bird houses, KTC mailboxes, or even outdoor doll houses. True to the nature of a school, these are little libraries, set up in just in time for summer reading.
The idea came up amongst Johnston elementary school principals a few years ago, said Wallace Elementary principal Suzie Pearson, but the idea never got off the ground. It was revisited this spring, and through some volunteer handiwork and the artistic skills of art teacher Rob Spellman, the little libraries set up shop.
The premise is simple: Any student can borrow a book from the little library, and after they finish it, they put it back for someone else to enjoy. Or, if they really like it, they can keep it, but are asked to donate another book in return.
Pearson said the books in the library are donated from school parents and students, or purchased with monetary donations. The little libraries will be a permanent fixture at Wallace. As of right now, these are the only two little libraries in Johnston.
The little libraries will soon be formally registered on www.littlefreelibrary.org/. Parents and students can track the different libraries they’ve visited, or see if any new houses come up in their area.
Pearson said the value of the little libraries goes well beyond a fun place to exchange books.
“Reading over the summer helps students maintain what they have already learned,” Pearson said. “It can also increase their reading test scores when they come back in the fall. We encourage reading because it does so much for student.”