Duggan, Brooks & Books: Sharing Books, Creating Community
This is the fourth in our series of articles lifting up Little Free Libraries in Tacoma. If you missed our first articles about Melo and her Eastside library, Leigh and the Cushman Branch, or Julia and the M Street Library, you might be wondering what dentist Dr. Jamie Brooks, and the Duggans (a couple working in the real estate industry) have to do with Little Free Libraries. That’s easy! We love Tacoma and we love community!
Along with our Little Free Library profiles we’re hosting a book drive at Brooks Dental Studio and Windermere Abode to support the specific libraries we’re writing about. We’ll even give you a “wish list” for each library. (Lots more about the book drive below!)
Our project will culminate in the sponsorship of 2 new Little Free Libraries for Tacoma this May. The Rotary Literacy Committee and Tacoma Community House have been helping us identify areas with a need for greater access to books. We’re so excited to install and support 2 new libraries for Tacoma! We’ll be back later with that announcement, but here’s a hint: both new libraries will be outside wonderful community centers in the Hilltop neighborhood!
Support - the existing Little Free Library community in Tacoma
Share - our love of books, of reading, and our love of Tacoma
Expand - access to literacy through 2 new Little Libraries
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
We thank everyone for the books you have already shared and for your continued support of neighborhood love and literacy!
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. At the time of his death over 75,000 Little Free Libraries populated 88 countries! Here in Tacoma we’re part of that global community.
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.
Local Little Free Library Profile - The Emergency Food Network’s Lakewood Branch
Meet Michelle Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of the Emergency Food Network. Her passion for feeding the community extends beyond getting healthy food onto everyone’s tables. She’s also excited to share books, especially books with exciting, inspiring, empowering characters who reflect all kinds of people.
Going strong since 1982, the Emergency Food Network (EFN) works in our community “to provide Pierce County with a consistent, diverse and nutritious food supply so that no person goes hungry.” The EFN is the only non-profit food distributor in the county. It manages donations from farms and big grocers and corporations, but it also grows a fresh supply of produce at its own 80 acre Mother Earth Farm in Puyallup. The efforts of the Emergency Food Network’s farm and its distribution center where donations are stored, sorted, and packed combine to share 14.4 MILLION POUNDS of food to 71 sites annually. YES!!! Read more about the mission, work, and history of the Emergency Food Network.
Alongside the mission to feed Pierce County, the Emergency Food Network also strives to feed minds and imaginations through their Little Free Library. Read all about this neighborhood library below, then find out how you can support it!
How long has your Little Free Library been open?
After checking on some dates for us, Michelle was reminded that the Emergency Food Network’s had their library since April of 2017. “So it has been 2 years.”
We’ve now featured 4 libraries for our Duggan, Brooks & Books project and they’ve ranged from 11 weeks to 6 years old! Keep your eyes open as you explore Tacoma. You never know when a new Little Free Library will pop-up.
Did someone help fund or build the library?
“Our library is from Passport Rotary. They have been building them and placing them in high need areas around the county. They also help to keep us supplied with donated books.”
What inspired you to host a Little Free Library outside the Emergency Food Network’s Distribution Center?
“We have a wonderful spot for a library. Pedestrians pass through our parking lot every day, there is a school bus stop that is right in front of our library, and there are no other reading resources in our neighborhood. Plus it is a great way for EFN to give back right at home!”
Has the Little Free Library changed or influenced your relationship with the neighborhood or your clients?
“The Library has been a great benefit to our neighborhood relationship. People come and use it every day and when I am outside and see someone taking books from it I use it as a way to strike up conversation. Personally I love that I can see it from my office - kids, and adults come and check it out every day. There is a flurry when we get new books! I had a conversation with a young woman this week who is really looking for us to get more Young Adult books- ‘not too mushy and a little scary please…’”
Do you notice any “favorite” kinds of books for your neighborhood?
“We are in a very diverse neighborhood of fairly high poverty in Pierce County. We really need more kid books, and YA books, with HEROES OF COLOR!!!! When we get new kid and YA books they are gone in a day. People love to see other people that look like them reflected in a story and to have them triumph. Adults also love a romance and a good mystery too! There are also a variety of languages spoken here so books in other languages move too.”
Take note for the book drive! Who has some kids books and YA literature to pass on?
What are your wishes for the Emergency Food Network’s Little Free Library or your vision for its purpose or influence?
“I would love to focus on books that reflect the incredible diversity of Lakewood. Lots of kids I talk to at the Library say that they do not have very many other books so this is a great chance to support literacy and give kids the deep pleasure of owning a book. When I was a kid we always went to the public library but once a year on Valentine’s Day you received a book of your own - that is still my favorite holiday! I want to support kids’ reading, exploring other worlds, trying on new ideas, seeing people that look like them triumphing - slaying the bad guy - saving the earth!”
How can the Tacoma community support your Little Free Library?
“We could really use help with getting contemporary, engaging kid and teen books. We get many books donated but truthfully sometimes they are not the most riveting. We could really use more pertinent donations. Below I shared some ideas. So far our wood working volunteer has kept it in good repair!”
Check out these resources Michelle shared below:
Duggan, Brooks & Books Little Free Library Book Drive
Part of our mission is to “Enhance the quality of Little Free Library material through intentional stocking of books that meet the various needs and interest of the community.”
This is where you come in! Any books you love, find interesting or valuable, and are ready to share are more than welcome.
Book Drive Wish List for the Emergency Food Network Branch
As Michelle shared, “Children’s books fly off the shelves like crazy.”:
Young Adult Books
Books featuring heroes and characters of color
Books in languages other than English
Any book you love and would like to share!
Don’t feel limited by the list, it’s just a way to get ideas going. So let’s start collecting for the book drive!
Book Drive Locations
Brooks Dental Studio - 732 Broadway, Suite 101, Downtown Tacoma
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 7 am - 4 pm
Tuesday: 7 am - 1 pm
Brooks Dental Studio is on Antique Row and just below colorful Opera Alley. Drop off some books, then browse the vintage shops, or head toward S. 9th for coffee at Bostwick Cafe, or a treat at Original House of Donuts - then brush those teeth!
Monday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday: we often have a realtor on duty, so we’ll let you know via Instagram and Facebook if it’s a good Saturday to drop off some books!
Windermere Abode is in Tacoma’s beautiful Old Town, just a block up from the Old Town Dock on the Ruston Way Waterfront. Drop off some books, then take a walk on Ruston Way, or head across the street to The Spar for cocoa, coffee, or delicious Spar Chips!
Find Michael & Gretchen of Duggan Homes & stay in the loop about our project:
See You Soon!
In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing more about the 2 new libraries we’re installing as part of our Duggan, Brooks & Books Project. Let us know if you have any questions about donating books. We look forward to seeing you around Tacoma!