Little Libraries, Big Impact
Little Libraries, Big Impact
By Eric Dubay
Equipped with only paint, brushes and animal shaped stencils, second-graders of Geer Park Elementary transformed two little libraries into symbols of youth animal education.
Little libraries are an emerging trend designed to “inspire a love of reading and build community through neighborhood book exchange,” says Little Free Library, a non-profit at the helm of the movement. Little libraries are structurally reminiscent of a mailbox or a birdhouse, housing books rather than mail or birds.The library decoration is part of a new campaign designed to educate local youth about pet welfare, with a focus on animal shelter awareness.
Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit, the organization at the center of the campaign, is a nonprofit operating the Dearborn animal shelter. FAMD’s current Little Libraries Campaign continues the organization’s mission to bring their “passion and animals into the community with events that help bring together dogs and cats with loving people.”
In addition to facilitating the library painting, Wayne State public relations students, Eric DuBay and Jessica Vicari, in charge of executing the campaign, also read “It's Raining Pups and Dogs” by Jeanne Prevost and “Are You Ready for Me?” by Claire Buchwald to the Geer Park students. These books reinforced the “adopt don’t shop” message and the importance of volunteering at local animal shelters.
The program signifies a comprehensive effort between Wayne State University students, Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit and the Ford Fund.
Ford Fund’s sponsorship of the program enriches the education of university students through service learning opportunities as well as actively engaging the surrounding community and encouraging community outreach.
“These students are our future,” says Farah Harb, global education programs analyst for Ford Fund. “The Ford Community Corps program not only gives college students hands on experience but also empowers them to have an impact in the community and help make people’s lives better. Ford Fund is thankful for our partnership with WSU and all the hard work the students put into their projects.”
Shelly Najor, coordinator of the undergraduate PR program at Wayne State, said of the program, “We are so grateful to the Ford Fund for its support of programs that place students into the community working alongside deserving nonprofits. What a valuable pre-professional experience!”
Following the initial visit to the elementary school, campaign organizers returned to Geer Park Elementary. During the visit, the organizers reminded students of the messages discussed during their first visit and handed out specially designed “Adopt don’t shop” T-shirts to students. A pizza party was also provided to conclude the event.
A partnership with Little Free Library’s steward registry was also put in place for the prosperity of the project.