FONTANA, CA – Almond Elementary School is asking its scholars to “take a book and share a book” as it kicks off its new Little Free Library program, designed to increase access to literature and promote a reading culture beyond the classroom and into the Almond Elementary community.
In November, Almond installed a wooden box shaped like a little house in the front of the school and stocked it with library books, inviting students to borrow and return books at any time. The school’s goal is to provide Little Free Libraries throughout the Almond community by encouraging families to post little libraries on their front lawns.
Library technician Narallely Bonilla, who is in her first year at the school, brought the Little Free Library program to Almond Elementary to start a literacy initiative that channels the school’s love of learning and commitment to inspiring lifelong readers.
“The Little Free Library program gives our scholars more opportunity to read and sparks interest in literature,” Bonilla said. “It is a very simple concept but it can bring a big change to the community by raising literacy rates, especially among English learners. The little libraries will be open all the time. We seek to empower the community by providing as many reading opportunities as possible.”
Bonilla modeled the Almond Little Free Library program after a similar program that has been a success at Dolores Huerta International Academy (DHIA). DHIA installed a free library at their campus last year, thanks to a gift from the family of two DHIA scholars, with a former student donating 100 books to the library as part of their community project.
The literacy program is sponsored by Little Free Library, a Minnesota-based nonprofit that has already established more than 150,000 libraries in 120 countries and shared more than 300 million books. The organization provides the wooden box libraries and books.
Almond Elementary held a parent meeting on Dec. 12 to discuss how families can participate in the program. The neighborhood libraries will be installed during the 2024 spring semester.
Though books will be provided by the nonprofit, students are encouraged to share books of their own. All they need to do is place a book in the wooden box when they borrow or return a book.
Almond Elementary’s Little Free Library program will complement its existing literacy initiatives it has launched over recent years, including a mobile library that brings books to the community and the Reading Revolution. Almond’s Reading Revolution is an accelerated reading contest that tracks the number of books and word count for the entire student body, and challenges other elementary schools in the District to participate in the competition.
“The Little Free Library initiative is an integral component of our all-encompassing vision to instill a love of reading in every child,” Almond Principal Tim McCaffrey said. “We are actively transforming our community, one book at a time, through the strategic placement of these libraries across our neighborhoods.”
FUSD_LIBRARY1: From left to right: Almond Elementary fourth graders Ivy Jimenez, Isaiah Pacheco, Lilyann Sanchez and Joshua Ramos pick out books from the new Little Free Library box located in front of the school. The Little Free Library is designed to inspire lifelong readers and channel Almond Elementary’s love of learning.
FUSD_LIBRARY2: Almond Elementary School library technician Narallely Bonilla reads a book to second grade students. Bonilla brought the Little Free Library program to Almond Elementary after Dolores Huerta International Academy (DHIA) installed a free library at their campus last year.
FUSD_LIBRARY3: Second grader Syana Carbonel reads through a book in Almond Elementary School’s library. The school has started a Little Free Library program designed to inspire a love for reading among its students and the community.