Duggan, Brooks & Books Project
We finally made it to the point in our project when we get to install and celebrate a new Little Free Library in Tacoma! The Rotary Literacy Committee and Tacoma Community House helped us identify two locations with a need for greater access to books and this week we put up the first of two new libraries in the Hilltop community.
Ever since the spring we’ve been partnering with Dr. Jamie of Brooks Dental Studio to support Little Free Libraries in Tacoma. We interviewed the caretakers of four existing Little Free Libraries and shared their stories through articles, while hosting a book drive to keep those libraries well stocked with good reading material. It’s been fun for all of us to take turns delivering books to the libraries we featured in the Eastside, Lakewood, and Hilltop. In the meantime, we’ve been excited to see our dream of new libraries become a reality.
Support - the existing Little Free Library community in Tacoma
Share - our love of books, of reading, and our love of Tacoma
Enhance - the quality and availability of Little Free Library material through our book drive with intentional stocking of books to meet the various interests of the community
Collaborate - with Little Free Library caretakers to share the story of their library and understand its role in their neighborhood
Expand - access to literacy through 2 new Little Libraries
We can’t wait for you to meet the new library! But first, here’s a little bit about Little Free Libraries (okay, I guess we can wait, but not for long).
What’s a Little Free Library?
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization founded in Wisconsin in 2012, although it actually began in 2009 when Todd H. Bol built the first Little Free Library. Todd passed away in 2018, leaving a legacy of literacy. Ten years after the first Little Free Library, there are now over 90,000. They are in all 50 states, and in 91 countries! Tacoma Little Free Libraries are part of a global community of book sharing.
Little Free Libraries are mini libraries outside homes. Folks can purchase kits, or design their own. Little Free Libraries are free to use and open to everyone. They’re here for all of us and they’re meant to be used and shared!
Visit the Little Free Library site to learn more about how it all started, explore a searchable map of local libraries, or register your own Little Library if you haven’t already.
Introducing the Peace Little Free Library
You’ll find the Peace Little Free Library at 2106 S Cushman Ave in the Hilltop Neighborhood. This library is right outside the doors of the Peace Community Center and Peace Lutheran Church.
Brendan Nelson, Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministry at Peace, and President of the Hilltop Action Coalition got a call from a colleague at Tacoma Community House inquiring if Peace would be interested in a Little Free Library. From that call onward, Brendan coordinated with us to make this library a reality and a success. From choosing the exact site, to helping us sort out sprinkler system challenges, to getting Peace youth excited and engaged, Brendan has been a vital ally and a supporter of the Peace Library. Thank you, Brendan!
Our friend Aaron designed, built, and installed the Peace Little Free Library. He used reclaimed materials like a metal cabinet from a salvage yard and vintage copper roof tiles he inherited from a good friend. This little library is truly a custom, one-of-a-kind creation. There’s even a light inside to help readers browse when it’s getting dark out. You never know when you might need to find a book! Thank you, Aaron!
Peace is hoping to add a reading bench to the library area in the future so neighbors and visitors will be able to rest in the shade of the dogwoods, catch their breath, and enjoy a book.
A lot of people of all ages move through the doors of the church and center for Hilltop Scholars tutoring, weekly free community meals, small group gatherings, meetings, choir practice, worship, and community events. Combine that with the neighbors walking down the street and this new library should see loads of activity. We hope it will be a bright spot in the neighborhood, a place where conversations start, where ideas are shared, a place to just pick up a story to keep you company.
Take a look at a few steps in the evolution of the Peace Little Free Library, from when Aaron found the cabinet, to design sketches, and in-progress shop photos below.
Peace Lutheran Church stands on the corner of 21st and Cushman in Tacoma’s Hilltop Neighborhood and it’s been standing there for over 100 years. This is its first Little Free Library! Peace Lutheran values “courage, community, diversity, and justice.” With a vision to further serve and engage their community, Peace Lutheran raised funds for and built the Peace Community Center.
Peace Community Center opened in 2001 with a summer day camp for kids living in the neighborhood, and has grown and evolved in the years since with programs on and off site to support Tacoma students from elementary through college and career. Peace is on a mission for access and equity in education. There’s the McCarver Scholars after school learning program at McCarver Elementary to make sure students are reading at grade level and are ready for middle school. Then students move up into Hilltop Scholars at Jason Lee Middle School with summer learning, after-school learning, and academic coaching. At the high school level Hilltop Scholars students meet on-site at Peace Community Center for after-school learning and academic coaching with a goal that every student will graduate high school prepared to succeed in college. Following high school graduation Peace supports students in a variety of ways from care packages to coaching from the College and Career Director.
The center employees full-time staff and is supported by AmeriCorps interns each year. Peace Community Center’s values are: community, justice, wholeness, learning, and joy. It’s not hard to see how well a Little Free Library fits in here. Brendan Nelson has already been talking with Hilltop Scholars students about their vision for the Peace Library. They’re excited to have themes for the library to encourage people to add books related to what the students are learning about and celebrating in their studies such as Black History. We’ll keep you posted to let you know what the students come up with and we hope you’ll stop by the Peace Little Free Library to take a book or leave a book!
See You Soon!
In the coming months we’ll be sharing more about the second Little Free Library we plan to install this fall as part of our Duggan, Brooks & Books Project. Let us know if you have any questions about donating books. We’re happy to accept your donations and make sure they get into Little Free Libraries, or you can always take your books straight to the libraries around Tacoma. We’d love to see your favorite books show up at the Peace Library at 2106 S Cushman!