An individual, tapping into a global project, can help a neighborhood. The organization Little Free Library coordinates an international network of citizen-made cabinets where anyone can take or leave books, improving equitable access to books while reducing the purchasing and disposal of books. Ithaca hosts a growing number of these Little Free Libraries (LFLs). In October 2021, Ithaca resident Mackenzie Torelli received a Neighborhood Mini-Grant from Sustainable Finger Lakes for materials to build five LFLs for the Northeast Ithaca neighborhood in collaboration with local students and families, for sites frequented by children.
The LFLs were created in summer 2022, from new materials used efficiently to minimize waste. As of early October, they had been installed in Tareyton Park and Salem Park in the Town of Ithaca, with installations planned for Northeast Elementary School and two parks in the Village of Lansing. Book exchanges began within 24 hours of installation. The Northeast Elementary fifth graders planned a book drive to stock them, and Torelli plans to recruit local families for assistance in monitoring their usage. These new LFLs, in combination with those already in the neighborhood, will give all Northeast Ithaca residents access to free books within walking distance of their homes.
The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives building environmental stewardship, economic equity, and social justice in Tompkins County. The program is sponsored by Craig Riecke, Beck Equipment, and the Park Foundation. Please donate today and help us support more citizen-driven projects increasing the resilience and well-being of our communities.
The next Neighborhood Mini-Grant application deadline is April 1, 2023. Email sa***@su********************.org to request an application.