Free Little Libraries will soon start popping up in Tarkington area. The Tarkington Community Library is approved for five of the little red roadside boxes that foster book exchange and promote literacy.
Tarkington Community Library (TCL) is currently seeking community partners to host and be responsible for the libraries, said Kay Cook, TCL board member.
“We are looking for people to build them and places to put them,” Cook said. “We are looking for area churches, grocery stores and businesses where we can spread them out all across the Tarkington area.”
To host a Free Little Library, a sponsor must be able to buy and build the library according to plans. The most expensive part of the project, Cook said, is the Plexiglass for the door. Sponsors must also maintain the library and restock it with books, as needed.
“The boxes must be car window-height on a post, so people can drive up and check out a book. We think more people might use them if they can access them from their vehicle,” she said.
Patrons of the Free Little Libraries are not required to formally check out a book like a regular library. Any book inside the library is available for as long as the patron needs it.
“The whole goal is promote reading in our community and to provide more resources,” Cook said.
Tarkington Community Library was founded in 2003 and sees 20-30 patrons per week. Changes in reading habits have kept the numbers stagnant as more readers download books online. No matter how a parent accesses a book, Stetson believes it’s imperative that they read to their young children.
“There is nothing that a parent can do that is more important than read to their child,” she said. “There is nothing like the look on a child’s face when you read to them.”
Every week, Stetson estimates that she reads to roughly 100 children at Life Skills classes at Tarkington Primary, Tarkington Intermediate and Tarkington Middle School, and pre-school classes.
“It’s what gets me up every day,” she said. “When I walk in, they are excited and ready to go. They are sitting down with their hands folded and their mouths closed.”
When school is out for the summer, many children lose their access to books, which is why the library and the Free Little Libraries are so important, Stetson added.
Anyone with an interest in sponsoring a Free Little Library is asked to contact Tarkington Community Library by calling 281-592-5136 or stopping by 3032 FM 162, Tarkington.