The Little Free Libraries being installed throughout Cobb have a far bigger impact than just putting books in the hands of children.
The most recent opening of a Little Free Library led to two students enrolling in Fair Oaks Elementary School. BNI Smyrna Business Exchange established the new library at an apartment complex where many Fair Oaks Elementary students and their families live.
“When you give a kid a book, they enroll in school! There have been two students enroll at Fair Oaks elementary school since this Little Free Library had been opened last week,” said Ana Murphy, Cobb School Social Work Supervisor.
The installation of the Little Free Lending Library is part of a partnership between the Cobb County School Psychological Services Department and the Cobb Collaborative to increase access to books in Cobb. The Little Free Library (LFL) is a nonprofit dedicated to putting books in the hands of children and adults in communities worldwide. The book-sharing boxes play an essential role by providing access and encouraging a love of reading. They operate under the "Take One, Leave One" theory.
According to Cobb Collaborative, data reveals that children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school—paving the way to higher education, better employment opportunities, and improved health outcomes.
Nationwide more than 80 percent of children from low-income families are not proficient readers by the time they finish third grade. This deficiency has significant and long-term consequences not only to the children but also to the communities around them.
The Collaborative has a goal of installing 21 libraries in 2021, and the one near Fair Oaks was the sixth LFL.
Kay Eller, a BNI Smyrna Business Exchange member, has taken on the role of leading the BNI Smyrna Business Exchange Business Voices program.
Through Eller’s outreach, BNI Smyrna Business Exchange adopted Fair Oaks Elementary School, a Title I school, as their partner school. Over the last three years, BNI Smyrna Business Exchange has provided monetary donations, equipment donations and participated in other events promoting learning at Fair Oaks Elementary.
Members of the BNI Smyrna Business Exchange Chapter attended the ribbon-cutting of this LFL. BNI Smyrna Business Exchange will share in the efforts of keeping the library stocked and maintained in the ongoing support of partnering with Fair Oaks Elementary School.
More Little Free Libraries are in progress for installations across Cobb County. This is a quintessential collaborative effort, made possible by additional partners, including the United Way of Greater Atlanta Northwest Region, funding LFLs in Austell and Marietta and Girl Scout troops and Eagle Scouts building LFLs as well.
"We are beyond thrilled to serve as the local point of contact for the Get Georgia Reading Campaign and to build a partnership of engaged stakeholders on moving the needle on access to reading materials in our community. There is a direct link between reading skills and high school graduation rates, which of course leads directly to employment opportunities, economic stability, and ultimately, the health of our communities,” stated Irene Barton, Executive Director of the Cobb Collaborative. “It’s not an exaggeration to note that proficient readers become engaged citizens,” she added.
For more information about the Little Free Library program, email Irene Barton, Executive Director.