Little Free Library Building Project

1. Describe the project a STAKE Grant would help you accomplish:
A STAKE Grant would allow the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) to facilitate 1-2 more Little Free Library building projects with community organizations. On the MLK Day of Service, over 50 volunteers built and decorated 11 Little Free Libraries to be planted in the community. The structures, which accommodate between 50-80 children‘s books, will live in the places our students frequent during out-of-school time, such as parks, rec centers, etc. The building project proved to be a unique, hands-on way to engage new community stakeholders in children‘s literacy in our neighborhoods.

2. How will you use the grant toward the realization of your project? $800 is your imaginary budget:
An $800 grant would allow WePAC to buy the materials for at least five more Little Free Libraries and mounting hardware for the 11 libraries that have already been built. We could also provide a small honorarium to the professional builders who help this project come to life.

3. A little about yourself and what led you to your current creative goals. This may include a previous project of yours, ways it both succeeded and failed (this can be entirely unrelated to your proposal):
I am a lifelong-book nerd. I have fond memories of spending my summers with my grandmother (a retired children‘s librarian) and completing all the summer reading challenges my heart desired. As a new staff member at WePAC I‘m fortunate to advocate daily for children‘s literacy in West Philadelphia. This small organization works tirelessly to provide students access to books despite slashed funding in public education. We think the smile on a child‘s face when he finds a new favorite book should show up in new, surprising places.

4. Why is this project important? How will it benefit the community?
It has been proven time and time again that third grade reading levels predict graduation rates. In Philly, 35-45% of our students are at risk of dropping out. This fact tells us that there is much to do in developing children‘s literacy in the city, but early access to books and a love of books builds the foundation for learning later in life. Two parts literacy enrichment, one part beautification project, the goal is to create inviting outposts for kids to get their hands on books throughout the year. We want to take our books to the streets!