Leaving a Legacy through Literacy

As part of his Community Involvement class, my high school senior son Louis chose to repair and restock the Little Free Libraries in his school district as his volunteer project. During a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has made public libraries close and school media centers have limited access, Little Free Libraries may be the only place people in the community can get a book to read.

Literacy is a value that has been passed down in our family. My parents are retired educators and I was the director of Book Buddies, the summer reading program at my sons’ elementary school for six years. This year, it was my son’s turn to promote literacy in the community.

“Sharing books has been something my family has always done. Books are a great way to escape and keep you busy. That is something we all need right now.”

Louis, age 17

Most seniors in the Community Involvement class volunteer at their elementary school and work with students. Louis planned to spend his volunteer hours with his favorite teacher, Mrs. McCarthy, and help her Kindergarten students learn to read. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he could not do this in-person volunteer project.

Because I am a cancer survivor, my sons Louis and Max have been very mindful of social-distancing, mask wearing, and self-isolating. I wrote a book about our family’s experience with a stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis and the battle to get cured. Because I am immune compromised, Louis wanted to select a contact-free volunteer project.

I helped Louis develop a Community Involvement project to promote literacy in the community by staying contact-free.  Last spring, we restocked some of the LFLs and discovered the Little Free Library at the junior high was in need of a major facelift.

Louis is a hands-on learner; he really enjoys building and repairing things. The Little Free Library at the junior high needed new sides and he liked figuring out how to fix it up without rebuilding it.

His class advisor, and high school media specialist, is Mrs. Tracy. She has helped with book donations and finding age-appropriate resources.

So glad there are young people in the community who are willing to do this. I think people don’t trust the little old lady librarians to put good stuff in the LFLs – so having the community maintain them is key, especially young people!

Carol Tracy, high school media specialist

I have two sons, both attended the same elementary. The Little Free Library there was built and installed by my dad, Grandpa Bill, in the spring of 2014.

Louis wanted to show the Little Free Libraries in the school community respect by repairing and restocking them over the course of this class. 

This contact-free volunteer project has been a meaningful way for Louis to leave a legacy in the school district by promoting literacy.

Even though these Little Free Libraries are located at schools, it’s the community members who are responsible for the maintenance of the boxes and stocking the books. Louis is happy to promote free access to books and spread the joy of reading into the community.


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