The picturesque 1.5-mile trail along the OTC Richwood Valley Campus has always been a draw for locals. But now, families and community members have one more reason to frequent the path. Tucked away near the Fremont road entrance to the campus sits a brand-new little library stocked full of books.
OTC’s Little Free Library operates on a “take a book, leave a book” honor system. The project was spearheaded by OTC Richwood Valley Academic Learning Center staff. The team ordered, built and stocked the little library just in time for National Library Week, April 5-9.
“It’s been amazing to watch this little library come to fruition,” said Alisha Byers, a staff member of the OTC Richwood Valley Academic Learning Center. “I happened to pitch the idea in a meeting earlier this year, and it’s been such a reward to see it embraced by our team and the community.”
Through a global network of volunteers, thousands of little libraries exist all over the world. The libraries, which come in many shapes and sizes, all function as free book exchanges. Each little library has its own personal touch – Richwood Valley’s library is made from recycled milk jugs and painted a bright shade of OTC blue.
Trixie Braden, the director of Richwood Valley’s Academic Learning Center, said the idea to support a little library made perfect sense for her team.
“The Little Free Library’s mission is all about expanding book access to those who need it,” she explained. “Accessibility is also a cornerstone of our mission, so between that and our efforts to enhance student learning, this project was a great fit for us.”
Support for OTC’s Little Free Library has been overwhelming from the start. When Academic Learning Center staff put out a call for donated books, OTC Richwood Valley employees quickly stocked its shelves. Going forward, the Academic Learning Center team will take inventory of the books each month. Their efforts will help determine which genres are the most popular.
“We have a little bit of everything right now – fiction, children’s books, adult books,” Alisha explained. “And, we’ll eventually get to the point where the library can sustain itself.”
But no matter the work required to keep OTC’s Little Free Library up and running, the Academic Learning Center team says their efforts are far worth the reward.
“It feels good to promote literacy in such a creative and fun way,” Alisha said. “It also feels good to give back to a community who’s given us so much.”