Little Free Library boxes around Elizabeth area boost reading

Literacy for children pays off all through life

While it may seem obvious that reading to and with children is important, just how significant it is can be easily overlooked. Research has shown that 20 minutes of reading a day exposes the reader to a vast quantity of words and has several noteworthy benefits.
With increases in vocabulary, comprehension, speech and creativity, regular reading contributes to greater overall academic success. Reading also enhances children’s imaginations as the books they read introduce them to different ideas, possibilities, concepts and cultures beyond their own life experiences.
Outside of the classroom, it is important for parents and caregivers to encourage and support young readers. This is where local libraries and organizations such as the Little Free Library can make a helpful impact.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization with a mission to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Library book exchange boxes. Based on the concept of “take a book, leave a book,” more than 300 million books have been shared through registered Little Free Library locations to date. There are four Little Free Library locations in Elizabeth and even more in surrounding towns like Franktown, Parker and Castle Rock.
The Little Free Library locations in Elizabeth are all managed by volunteers with the Pine and Plains Libraries. Each library branch has a group of volunteers who are passionate about supporting the library in any way possible. This includes assisting with programs like the summer reading program, coordinating events and sorting all the book donations that arrive at the library.
These volunteers also set up and regularly maintain the Little Free Library locations within Elizabeth. Each Little Free Library is inspected to ensure they don’t have any damage and are consistently restocked, oftentimes with books donated to the library. Elizabeth Library Branch Manager Laurie Van Court says “while this program was initially created in urban areas where there is a lot more walkability, our volunteers have chosen locations to be as convenient as possible for residents.” 
To find Little Free Library locations near you, either download the mobile app (it’s free), or you can visit Your child’s next favorite book might be waiting inside a Little Free Library. An impactful and easy way to give back to your community is to bring your old/outgrown books to a Little Free Library location, passing on books to others who may enjoy them.

Build your own

The Little Free Library website also contains information on how to start and build your own Little Free Library and register it in their database. There are no design requirements for building your own. The design can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. Blueprints and plans are available online for a handful of designs including how to transform an old kitchen cabinet into a Little Free Library. Building your own and keeping it regularly stocked is another great way to contribute to your community.
While there are no guidelines for the types of books that can be dropped off at a Little Free Library location, the volunteers who manage the Elizabeth locations are quite diligent in choosing books with the community in mind. “We try to put things in there we think our community will enjoy. Children’s books are very popular because there are a lot of kids in Elbert County who are home-schooled,” says Van Court.
Additionally, your local library is a welcoming, friendly place to find whatever you’re looking for. Library staff are knowledgeable and there to help you. Van Court, says “coming to the library shouldn’t feel like going to the dentist. It should be something joyous.”
And there are many ways in which to make each library visit a joyful experience. First off, the vast majority of services and programs offered through the library are free to the community. This includes story time, various community events throughout the year, reading programs and kids’ clubs like Constructor’s Club, Curiosity Club and Chess clubs. There are no late fees either, so you never have to worry about needing to pay a fine the next time you visit.
A special thing about the Pines and Plains Library branches, you’ll be on a first-name basis with the librarians within a visit or two. This sense of community is a feature of a small town that’s difficult to mirror in larger cities. Residents here can still enjoy all the library amenities and resources as those available in larger cities, though.
The Pines and Plains Library branches have a vast selection of ebooks, audiobooks and magazines available through Libby, a free library reading app available on Google Play and the Apple Store. The libraries in Elbert County are also part of a larger, statewide database so if you are looking for something specific and don’t see it on the shelf, it can be located in their catalog and requested to be delivered to your local library.
Other helpful resources on the Pines and Plains Libraries website include World Book Online which is a verified and reliable source for information for grades pre-K through high school. Your library card provides you access to this tool that is extremely helpful for school research papers. Legal forms, how-to instructions on auto care and even information about your family heritage can all be found through the library’s website as well.
Programs and services like these play an essential role within communities and can have a profound impact on children of all ages. Whether they’re increasing academic performance, discovering their own creative potential or just getting lost in a good story, there is a wealth of resources here in Elbert County.
Little Free Library, Pines & Plains Libraries, literacy, Elizabeth, Kiowa, Elbert County, Simla, Colorado


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