Read Mountain Middle School dedicates Little Free Library

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Read Mountain sixth graders (from left) Adrian Moctezuma, Maliyah Diggs, Zeeza Avis, Ty Heptinstall, Van Peters and Mikayla Redden with the new Little Free Library.
Photo by Ed McCoy

Last Wednesday’s rain didn’t keep Read Mountain Middle School sixth graders from dedicating the Cloverdale community’s first Little Free Library– the ribbon cutting for the opening was done in the school Forum rather than on the school grounds.

And, it was done during a Reading Celebration with Cloverdale Elementary School kindergarteners and Blue Eagle Credit Union representative Andrew Alegre, whose company employees provided $500 to RMMS and collected over 1,000 books for the group of Little Free Libraries its supporting around the Roanoke Valley.

RMMS’s sixth graders in Catey Moretz’s English classes, with the help of technology education teacher Chuck Burton, decided to repurpose an old newspaper vending box to serve as the Little Free Library, where anyone is welcome to take a book and leave a book.

The project evolved last fall when Moretz and her students decided to take on the project. They waited until winter passed to dedicate the Little Free Library and anchor it outside the school.

The Reading Celebration with the kindergarteners gave the sixth grade English classes the opportunity to interact with the younger students in a variety of activities geared toward associated with reading and storytelling.

The program started with the vintage Walt Disney cartoon of the “Three Little Pigs.”

The kindergartners then rotated through activities using that theme that included a play, photo booth, “circle time,” book selections, STEM, alternative story versions, bookmarks, “cause and effect” and coloring/maze.

The premise of the Little Free Library program is when a patron takes a book, he or she leaves a book behind. That way, the shelves stay full.

The Little Free Library book exchange is a worldwide network of over 50,000 small book exchanges. There are several in Roanoke, one at the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and others in communities in Alleghany and Rockbridge Counties.

Buchanan will soon have one. Buchanan Elementary School Librarian Sarah Boblett got permission from Town Council to place one at the Town Park.

According to its website, generally Little Free Libraries are structures filled with constantly changing collections of books donated and shared by people of all ages and backgrounds. Most Little Free Libraries are placed in front yards, parks, gardens and easily accessible locations. The libraries are built to withstand weather of all kinds and hold 20-100 books.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is to promote a sense of community, reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world, its website says.

Little Free Library provides guidance on building and maintaining the book exchanges, and it sells libraries.

— Ed McCoy

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