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Little libraries for little readers: Little Free Library newest Olive Hill fixture

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

Young readers with a hunger for new books have another place to turn to when the library is closed. A new Little Free Library box was dedicated in Olive Hill last week, behind the Olive Hill Elementary School. Donna Stamper, coordinator with the school family resource center, worked with the Foundation for the Tri-State, the Family Resource Center, and the Little Free Library organization to get the box installed. The location will also be recorded on the Little Free Library list of locations at their website, littlefreelibrary.org. 

“I first saw the Little Free Library at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina, in their gardens,” Stamper said. “It had the charter number on it, and the website, and I thought, ‘I have to have this for school. For our area.’ So that’s how it got started.” 

From there she reached out to the Little Free Library organization and the Foundation for the Tri-State helped out with the funding. 

“I applied for a couple of grants, but I received one from the Foundation for the Tri-State that paid for the majority of it. Then the resource center paid for the rest of it.” 

But Stamper wasn’t content with just one Little Free Library. She has plans for a second location in Olive Hill. 

“We have another grand opening coming up with the city park. I applied for an Impact grant with the Little Free Library and they donated that one.”

The timeline on that second location is still in planning but “hopefully within the next week, we’ll have it ready,” Stamper said. 

The Little Free Libraries work by encouraging the free exchange of books among the community, with no library card required or return due dates. People who want to read a book can take a book, to keep as long as they like, and those who have finished books they do not want to keep may leave them in the little free library for others to enjoy. 

In addition to a variety of books for children to choose from at the new Olive Hill Little Free Library, Stamper rewarded every child present with a special book – and many of the three and four-year-old mini-school students immediately took seats on the curb and began reading their new books. 

“I wanted to give each one of my mini-school kids – the little kids that are here today are with our mini-school program for three and four-year-olds – something to start them out young learning to read and they’ll always read.” 

Rita Lynn Cartee, a representative of the Tri-State Foundation present for the ribbon cutting ceremony, said the organization was, “just thrilled to be able to fund things like this that enrich the community – that’s our purpose.” 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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