April 23, 2024
Annapolis, US 63 F

Little Free Libraries popping up all over thanks to the Annapolis and Parole Rotaries

Photo: Donald E. Roland. 

The Rotary Club of Annapolis, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Parole, and the City of Annapolis held a dedication ceremony on November 18, 2020 at Truxtun Park to celebrate the establishment of Little Free Libraries (LFL) throughout Annapolis.

In keeping with healthcare protocols, attendance was limited to a few individuals: Mayor Gavin Buckley; Community Outreach Support Navigator Erica Griswold; Recreation & Parks director Archie Trader; Rotary Club of Annapolis president Frank Andracchi; Rotary Club of Parole president Kristi Neidhardt; and Rotary Club of Annapolis LFL chair Dona Rudderow Sturn.

A community-wide dedication and celebration of the LFLs will be held in the spring or as soon as conditions allow.

The goal of the LFL project is to provide free books in convenient locations at self-contained book-sharing kiosks throughout the community so residents can enjoy reading and obtain books for their own homes. Each LFL is stocked with free books from 13 genres donated by Books for International Goodwill, the Parole Rotary’s international project, which distributes books around the world.

The Phase I dedication recognizes the establishment of 20 LFLs located along the West-East Trail and in other locations throughout the City. Each LFL is sponsored by a volunteer Rotarian and other community members. Five of the libraires are dedicated to books for children and installed alongside an adult LFL. Nature Sacred has sponsored four of the libraries for children. Volunteer “librarian teams” of two will stock and maintain each LFL. People are encouraged to “Take a Book. Keep a Book. Share a Book.”

Each LFL is dedicated to an historic or influential person from Annapolis, the state, or the nation. With the installation of these LFLs, the Annapolis LFLs will be officially registered with www.littlefreelibrary.org and become part of the world-wide network of LFLs bringing reading to millions. What distinguishes Annapolis LFLs is that readers are encouraged to keep the books as a gift from Rotary.

“We are all looking for diversions these days,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “What is a more fun diversion than being transported by a good story? I’m glad that Rotarians are dedicated to bringing little libraries to our community and keeping them stocked. I’m also thankful for the City’s role, with Recreation and Parks crews installing the LFLs.”

Dona Rudderow Sturn, LFL Chair, was inspired to bring the LFLs to Annapolis and said, “We are committed to bringing the joy and power of reading directly into our communities.” Over time, the LFL Committee will provide Rotary with useful reports on the usage of the LFLs in Annapolis.

Residents discovering the new LFLs are enthusiastic. A young reader, encouraged to keep his book, told his mother, “I can really keep this!” His mother was glad, saying, “Thank you, thank you so much.” Another reader asked, “Can you bring some more Star Wars, and can I take books for my grandmother at home?” With this start, the LFL project is on track to be a success for young and older readers alike.

Phase Two of the LFL project intends to bring books inside community centers, and Phase Three contemplates a County component. For more information, to see the location of the LFLs, and to learn who each library is dedicated to, see www.annapolisrotary.org/little-free-library .

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