By Janice McCaffrey
What is the #1 support writers need? Readers…critique groups, beta readers and book buyers. What came first a desire to write or the love of reading?
Silly questions? Maybe. But lately I’ve been thinking how important reading is to us writers. I bet reading has taken each of us to magical places we’d never imagine for ourselves. We’ve gotten to know characters we won’t meet in our daily lives. Heroes and villains, historic figures and fictional characteristics blended in a way we hadn’t thought of before.
Reading we learn about our planet and our place in it. Where would we be without books in our lives?
I’m afraid we take our reading skills and availability to meaningful books for granted. It’s difficult to imagine kids in this great country who don’t have an adult to support their education or read to them. Kids who don’t have books in their lives.
Without thinking much about it we buy books, use our Kindles, and borrow from public libraries and our friends. What if we didn’t have those resources at our finger tips? We’d suffer. I know I would. Our children and community would suffer. Take a minute and put yourself in that situation. Imagine yourself and your family without books.
Andrew Carnegie knew how important reading is for everyone. He funded grants to 3,000 communities around the world (including 17 in Montana). The Hockaday Museum, Kalispell, is housed in an original Carnegie Library.
Then to honor his mother Todd Bol put up a little free library. Soon Rice Brooks joined him and in 2009 they formed a non-profit organization.
And Little Free Libraries are popping up around the world.
2014 enters Kim Kozlowski, a reporter for the Detroit News. Working with Detroit non-profit organizations, city parks and public schools her goal is to have 313 Little Free Libraries in Detroit (313 is their area code). Her latest project is to erect and maintain Little Free Libraries in front of each of Detroit’s 97 public schools.
Detroit’s main library is a product of Carnegie’s grants. There are ten branch libraries throughout the city. None of the branches are opened weekends and most have only one or two weekdays that remain open until 8p. When can hard working families take their kids to the library?
I was born in Detroit and raised just north of its city limit. I spent fun teen years during the birth of Motown and the era of the original muscle cars. I’m very proud and happy to report that the book club I belong to has sponsored a Little Free Library at a Detroit school. I think all book clubs and writers’ organizations should join the cause of the Little Free Libraries—a fun way to encourage reading while building community interaction.
We don’t have to be as wealthy as Carnegie to help . . . any contribution adds to the movement. Check out these websites and facebook pages.
Littlefreelibraries.org little free libraries
Detroitlittlefreelibraries.org Detroit: the little library capitol