Three MWES students standing next to the Little Free Library

In the past few years, Little Free Libraries were installed at several schools across the division. The outside location makes it easy for patrons to exchange books at any time of the day. Mary Williams Elementary School opened their Little Free Library in the Spring of 2018. Recently, it has become not only a place to pick-up a book, but also a place to get food.

With schools and libraries closed because of COVID-19, many students are without access to new reading material in the form of print books. The Little Free Library helps to fill this void, but the Mary Williams Elementary staff also added essential supplies to assist students in need. Community members have kept the movement going by also dropping off not only food such as, rice, cereal and canned goods, but also diapers. This access to food and essential items is a welcomed resource for families who may not be getting paid during the closures due to the pandemic.

"I think the Little Free Library gives families a sense of comfort knowing that our school is still there to support them," shared School Counselor Nicole Myers. "The fact that the library keeps getting filled day after day is so encouraging. I hope students learn the value in looking out for the needs of others and paying it forward when they are able."

"As educators we know that the students who read the most achieve the best scores on standardized tests," Reading Teacher Kathy Maxfield said. "In our community we have military families that move often and may not have a large core of books. We have multigenerational families sharing spaces that might not allow for a home library. We have working families that may not be free to visit libraries during normal business hours or may lack transportation to the public library. Our Little Free Library improves book access for all our students and their families," Maxfield added.

Teachers and staff at Mary Williams hope that students also learn valuable life lessons from these acts of kindness. In times of crisis, being a good community member and helping those in need is important.