By Sarah Richards
Pensacola State College’s EME2040 students created a Little Free Library for the kids attending Kids’ College for the summer. Some kids would take a book home, while some parents would read to them before leaving.
The bookshelf was a collaborative project, with Dr. Jen Ehrhardt, Professor of Communications, Paula Byrd from the Century Academy and Mike Listau, who was on the Service Learning Council when Ehrhardt first got exposed to the idea of an LFL and the Coordinator of Kids’ College and the advisor of the Rotaract Club, which was one of the book sponsor organizations for the LFL. The students collaborated on the visual theme of the bookshelf—inspired by Mildred the Book Wyrm—and practiced desktop publishing to create a flyer for the book drive.
Byrd, Director of the PSC Century Center and liaison with the Century Academy said, “I was approached by the Director of Century Academy to see if our PSC students could build two Little Free Libraries that would be placed in the Century community.
The bookcase will be a gift to the students of Century Academy and will allow them to continue reading over the summer months, when many students fall behind.”
Over summer break, when kids are out of school, they don’t have access to their public-school libraries, so the Little Free Library is a way to bridge that gap.
“I worked in many public libraries in children’s reading programs, projects and even a rural Louisiana bookmobile route,” said Judy Golding, PSC adjunct, who created the murals for inside the book shelf and sculpted Mildred the Book Wyrm for the top tower of the castle. “So, this project was just the sort of creative, community endeavor that sets my creative nerves on fire. The idea that so many people were ready to participate in making something special made it an opportunity impossible to pass up.”
But what everyone gave, they got back something more.
Tyrell Robinson found great dragon images for the bookshelf design and painted the “bricks” for the castle. “This project helped me “figure out that I truly want to be a teacher. It helped me understand why I want to be a teacher—I truly believe in children. I just love the fact that what we are doing is amazing. It gives the children something to do. The project made me feel like a wonderful person on the inside.”