Free book program aims to have everyone reading and learning
One PTA president in Key Biscayne is stressing the importance and empowerment of reading through the implementation of a “reading box” in the Village.
The “Little Free Library” has recently popped up at Presbyterian School – a box filled with free books for the community – and the school’s PTA president Bruna Iasi has a vision for this to spread.
“I’m a true believer that education is the key of a good community / city / country,” she said. “Everybody knows that reading unlocks a lot of doors in your life.”
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world, according to its website.
It is a standing box where books can be exchanged, taken – without being returned – or donated.
There are more than 90,000 standing boxes in 90 countries, and locations can be found online here by typing in a city name or zip code.
The Village of Key Biscayne has followed Iasi’s lead and ordered a Little Free Library.
“The Village is looking forward to providing the second ‘Little Library’ in Key Biscayne following the great example set by Bruna and the Presbyterian School,” said Todd Hofferberth, director of Park Recreation and Open Space for the Village.
“The Village manager asked that I move forward with this as soon as she learned about what they had accomplished. We support this initiative and think it will be a welcome addition to the Village Green playground.”
That is part of Iasi’s dream – to see the boxes spreading.
Asked how many Little Free Libraries she would like to see in Key Biscayne, she listed several locations: Village Green Park, Beach Park, Bill Baggs Park, Crandon Park, all schools and condominiums including Key Colony and Ocean Club.
“And maybe if people like it, they can have their own Little Free Library in front of their houses as we can see a lot around the New York City suburbs,” she said.
The boxes cost around $600. Iasi said funds for the Presbyterian box came from PTA coffers and fundraising efforts. It was this year’s project of the Presbyterian PTA.
“All kinds of literacy incentives are beneficial for all of the community,” Iasi said. “It can bring new topics to discussion, create book clubs, bring new projects for the city, and most importantly, it can improve even more for our kids’ education.
“Kids who read for pleasure have better scores at school and better chances in their future. All of this together for sure creates a better community.”
When bringing the first box to Key Biscayne, Iasi had tourists in mind – those who can’t check out books at the public library.
“All the time we have people visiting,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to read a book without spending money.”
Through this initiative, Iasi wants to attract readers of all ages – and books of all languages.
“My personal hope is that people donate/exchange their best picks, as if they were exchanging with a friend,” she said. “It will bring the community together on the passion for reading. And I love the idea of writing a little note for the next reader telling if you liked the book and sign it.
“Reading is powerful. It opens new perspectives, it enables you to familiarize yourself with how other people see the world, it enables you to acquire skills … improve your communication abilities. You can understand yourself and the world much better just by reading.”