Indigenous Little Free Library opens in downtown Reading

Widoktadwen Center for Native Knowledge was awarded a Little Free Library Impact Grant for an Indigenous Little Free Library in 2023. Through a coordinated community service effort, the library was constructed and delivered outside the Berks County Community Foundation building, located at 237 Court Street in Reading on December 20, 2023.

“We are incredibly grateful for the community’s effort to bring this library to life” said a statement from the organization.

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Wyomissing Boy Scout Troop 413 assembled the library and secured the structure in a sturdy planter, donated by New Castle Lawn and Landscape. New Castle selected a sleek planter design and provided soil, wood chips, and winter greens to beautify the library structure.

The Scouts were happy to have the building experience and learned a lot about mixing concrete, working with concrete tools, and some physics about weight and leverage while working on the project. The concrete and supplies used to secure the post in the planter were donated by Weaver’s Ace Hardware in Sinking Spring.

“We’re also grateful for the generosity of our host site, Berks County Community Foundation, for believing in this Little Free Library project and encouraging community literacy by allowing us to install the library in front of their building. Since its installation, the library sees a lot of traffic and books are frequently donated and exchanged by both the library stewards and neighbors.”

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Little Free Library grants no-cost book-sharing boxes where needed most on tribal lands and in Indigenous communities in the United States and Canada. They work with Indigenous community leaders and members to place book exchanges in locations where book access is important to improving literacy.

There are over 13,000 Indigenous people in Berks County according to data from the Urban Indian Health Institute, and the location of this library is designated a high poverty area and a book desert, where households are least likely to have 100+ books in the home.

Through this program, Little Free Library aims to strengthen community, inspire readers, expand easy book access, support positive literacy outcomes, and make Little Free Libraries available in high-need locations like Reading, PA serving Indigenous Peoples.

To celebrate the installation of the newest Little Free Library, the organization is planning an open house event on Thursday, April 4th from 3-4 p.m. in front of the Berks County Community Foundation at 237 Court Street, Reading, PA, 19601. Neighbors will be able to choose from a diverse selection of free books and bookmarks while enjoying some light refreshments.

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Berks Weekly
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