The gift of a free book: Girl Scout builds little library for Lima Memorial

LIMA — Little Free Libraries are book exchanges where people can take a book they like and leave a book in its place. The idea behind Little Free Libraries is to promote literacy and a love of reading, while also fostering a sense of community by encouraging people to share books and connect with one another.

Lima Memorial Health System Pediatrics was chosen to receive a donation of a Little Free Library from local Girl Scout Kaelee Burkholder. Burkholder is a 12-year-old Girl Scout with Troop 21252 and built the Little Free Library as a part of her Girl Scout Bronze Award project. Burkholder constructed and painted the entire library. It took her 20 hours of work to complete the project. She created this project with a mission to encourage more reading among local children.

“It will make them want to have some books and let them read,” Burkholder said.

Little Free Libraries don’t charge any fees to use them, though all are encouraged to take a book and leave a book in exchange.

“We are not only excited but we’re grateful to have this because we know that reading helps foster a lifelong love of learning and opportunity,” said Dr. Melody Stewart-Cyrus, pediatrician at Lima Memorial Health System Pediatrics. “We’re very grateful that you’re going to have this here so that our patients can come and take a book.

“We know that reading is kind of like speech; you don’t just learn it in the first grade. If you’re getting age-appropriate books from six months on, reading just comes naturally to you. The learning to love reading will help also with a lifelong love of learning. And with that comes opportunity. You know we can help our patients do better in school, maybe get a better job and just have opportunities that they might not otherwise have.”

The Lima Memorial Health System Pediatrics Little Free Library will include books for all ages.

The first Little Free Library book-sharing box was built in 2009 in Wisconsin. There are now more than 150,000 registered, volunteer-led Little Free Libraries around the world. The Little Free Library nonprofit organization is at the heart of this phenomenon. The growing network shares a mission to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all.

Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409

Dean Brown joined The Lima News in 2022 as a reporter. Prior to The Lima News, Brown was an English teacher in Allen County for 38 years, with stops at Perry, Shawnee, Spencerville and Heir Force Community School. So they figured he could throw a few sentences together about education and business in the area. An award-winning photographer, Brown likes watching old black and white movies, his dog, his wife and kids, and the four grandkids - not necessarily in that order. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0409.