Schools may be closed for summer, but that doesn't mean students can't check out books.
Schools may be closed for summer, but that doesn’t mean students can’t check out books.
McPherson elementary schools will have Little Free Libraries posted near their front doors during the summer months. These boxes will contain books, mostly children’s books, people in the community can borrow.
People also are encouraged to donate books to the libraries so others can have new books to read.
“It’s the idea of leave a book, take a book,” said Amanda Harrison, elementary library media specialist. “Kids are welcome to take them or leave them.”
The project started when fourth- and fifth-grade students studied different kinds of libraries. They researched little free libraries and discussed how such libraries would work in McPherson.
Students at each school then had contests to design a library for each school. The final designs were built with help from the McPherson College football team and the McPherson High School shop.
Brian Peters, a fourth-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, said the project reinforces the citizenship aspect of the district’s C3 initiative.
“With everything we do to promote citizenship, it’s a good idea to get out there with the community,” he said. “They can continue to read and enjoy it. That’s something we try to instill. Reading doesn’t end with summer or graduation.”
Allie Snyder, fifth grade, won the design contest at Lincoln Elementary School. She said she based her design around popular colors.
“Everyone likes lime green, pink and purple, so I used them,” she said.
The libraries will be monitored by security camera, and Harrison said she hopes to find volunteers who can check the libraries for rain damage and other issues that might come up.
“It’s to promote literacy,” Harrison said. “If kids can’t get to the main library, maybe they can make it to their school.”
Harrison said those who leave books should consider them a donation, as there will be no way to return books to their donors. She said she’s not sure how many books each library can hold, but it’s more than she expected.
“It depends on whether they’re picture books or chapter books, but the one at Eisenhower Elementary School has 40 to 50 now, and it’s not packed.”
Harrison said she hopes these libraries will help children retain the things they learn through the summer and put them in a better academic position come fall.
“We always hear that kids lose learning over the break,” Harrison said. “Giving them access to books will help maintain those skills.”
Harrison said the community can be sure its donations will benefit students 100 percent.
“There’s no overhead,” she said. “If you put a book in there, it’ll go to a kid.”