Freedom Intermediate Students Create Free Library

Little Free Library FSSD
Left to right: Freedom Intermediate School students Jaden Jefferson, Jordan Belcher, Lianysha Scruggs, Alicia Outlaw, Jessica Belcher, Victor Williamson, Sarah Shaffer, Angel Lopez Escobar, and Abby Loeb celebrate the opening of the Little Free Library at the school’s soccer field along with Freedom Intermediate School Principal Joel Hoag, Ed.D., Erin Lefkovich and Evelyn Hickerson with Gentry’s Educational Foundation, and Franklin Special School District Director of Schools David Snowden, Ph.D.

Students in Marie White’s after school tutoring program at Freedom Intermediate School are excited to see a new neighborhood reading opportunity come to life through the creation of a “Little Free Library” at the soccer field near their school. A special ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday, March 31, at 4:30 p.m., at the soccer field where the little free library will be installed.

Left to Right: Freedom Intermediate School students Victor Williamson and Jaden Jefferson load the Little Free Library with donated books.

White, who tutors 5th and 6th grade students through the school’s after-school partnership with Gentry Educational Foundation, jumped at the chance to put more books into the hands of neighborhood children. “Our goal through Gentry’s tutoring is to improve the reading and math skills of our students,” White said. “A key component of improving any skill is practice. We hope by getting more books into the hands of children, it will improve their reading ability and spark a lifelong love of reading,” she explained.

The location was a simple matter of supply and demand. “We chose the location for the Little Free Library because it is adjacent to the school, and the soccer field is heavily used by the public outside of school hours. Often, when we leave tutoring, we see teams of older students and adults playing,” she said. “We noticed that there are many little brothers and sisters watching and playing along the sidelines and thought it would be a great opportunity for them to practice reading alone or to a sibling or friend.”

This is the second Little Free Library the FSSD has seen installed by its schools. In 2015, students at Poplar Grove Elementary built one and installed it at Franklin Estates Mobile Home Community. Teacher Karen Hunter-Mennenga oversaw the project, which was painted by her English Language Learners in the K-4th grade school. She has continued to monitor it every couple of weeks and adds books when necessary, being sure to include Accelerated Reader and grade level information. “Each book has a label that says ‘Little Free Library: Always a Gift, Never for Sale.’ I have received book donations from teachers, the Path Project, and from individuals in the community,” Hunter-Mennenga said.

The community is invited to donate children’s books to the Little Free Libraries whenever they would like. They can also drop the donations to either Freedom Intermediate or Poplar Grove Elementary with a note specifying the donation is for the Little Free Library.