In a time when most people read books via a tablet or e-reader, two local nonprofits hope to bring children back to a time when publications were more tangible.
In May, the Burbank Sunrise Rotary and Burbank Noon Rotary clubs unveiled a little free library in Mountain View Park in the Rancho District, the first of four “take-a-book, leave-a-book” repositories the service clubs will be donating to Burbank.
The other little free libraries will be built in Johnny Carson Park, Robert E. Lundigan Park and Vickroy Park by the end of this month.
Phyllis Cremer, president of Burbank Sunrise Rotary, said each service club received $2,000 in community grants from Rotary International to pay for the little libraries.
The two organizations turned to Douglas Chadwick from the Literacy Club, a local nonprofit that has built more than 75 free libraries throughout Los Angeles and the country, Cremer said.
Janice Lowers, secretary for the local Sunrise Rotary club and a member of the Burbank Parks and Recreation Board, said she had been wanting to undertake this community project for several years, and now that the little libraries are being built, she hopes they will promote literacy among children in the community.
“I’d love to see a little library in every park,” she said. “Parks are a perfect place for families to gather, and having the books available there [is] going to encourage reading. That foundation of literacy is really what makes life so much more accessible for a child moving forward.”
Lowers added that the clubs have received about 700 books so far and will be putting them in the little libraries when needed.
Cremer, a student support specialist at Loyola Marymount University and former vice president of student development at Woodbury University, said she remembers visiting her local bookmobile when she was a child and being able to hold a book.
It is that tangible sensation that, Cremer said, many people have lost over the years, adding that it is time for people to go back and pick up a physical copy of a book every once in a while.
Though she understands the benefits of having reading material readily accessible through digital formats, Cremer said it is important for people and children to take a break from their often fast-paced lives, and what better way to do that than with a book.