Literacy is getting a big push at Owensboro Public Schools with a new program called “Little Free Library.” The libraries are so little they’re contained in a two-foot by two-foot weatherproof box that looks like a birdhouse and hangs on the outside of the school.
The little library holds about 25 books that are there for the taking 24/7. There are no fines for overdue books and no return dates.
Cortney Inklebarger is principal at Cravens Elementary, the first of six schools to have a Little Free Library.
"This is something that’s a little bit more, you know, I put something in and I get to keep it. I don’t necessarily have to bring this back," said Inklebarger. "The goal is to give a book, take a book, but if a student just takes one and they love it so much and they just want to keep it and they don't have something to put back in there, that’s fine with me.”
While students have been excited about taking and giving books, even coming by over the weekend when school is closed, Inklebarger said the project is one more step in the long-term goal of improving literacy.
"We promote all the time for our students to read 20, 30 minutes a day. Even if you just go with the 20 minutes a day, if a student reads 20 minutes a day throughout the school year, that’s 3,600 minutes," she said. "Their standardized test scores go up, their vocabulary increases. So the more we can get books in our students’ hands, the more we can promote literacy.
The Cravens Elementary Little Free Library was installed on Sept. 3. The second one will be located at Newton Parrish Elementary on Sept. 21.
Local banks are partnering with six Owensboro schools to support the project.