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Apr 25

[ARCHIVED] Little House of Books: Pensacola Housing’s Little Free Library

The original item was published from April 25, 2018 9:34 am to April 25, 2018 12:58 pm

Housing Little Free Library with Caption and BirdIf you’ve visited the Pensacola Housing Division recently, you may have noticed a new structure located out in front of the office building, vaguely resembling a miniature barn. This is Pensacola Housing’s Little Free Library, which has been “open for business” since March.

The Little Free Library (LFL) phenomenon, which can be thought of as a variation on Public bookcases, started in 2009, when Wisconsin resident Todd Bol painted a wooden box to look like a schoolhouse, filled it with books, and set it on a post outside his home to be accessible to passersby, who were welcome to take a book or leave a book as they wished.

Bol’s miniature library was an homage to his mother, June Bol, a teacher and lifelong bibliophile who’d recently passed away. The idea went viral, and the Little Free Library nonprofit organization was formed in 2012. Currently, LittleFreeLibrary.org reports there are more than 60,000 registered Little Free Libraries, located in more than 80 countries around the globe. Since not all “stewards” (the organization’s name for LFL “librarians”) choose to register their libraries on the website, the actual total is certainly higher.

Pensacola Housing’s LFL is charter # 62,375. Our steward is Financial Specialist Nicole Louie, who’s been with the Housing Division since March 2013. Initially hired as a temporary receptionist, Ms. Louie was soon offered a permanent position as a clerk. She then worked as an HQS inspector, a scheduler, and a housing counselor before accepting her current position as Finance Specialist in 2016.

Nicole Louie Housing Finance Specialist 2017Through her employment with the City of Pensacola, Ms. Louie became involved with ECARE (Every Child a Reader in Escambia), serving in the ReadingPals Program, which pairs Pre-K students with mentors who help them develop the pre-literary skills found to increase educational success. To date, she’s mentored five children through the program. She also recently appeared in a PNJ story about the Pet Partners “Read with Me” literary program, which helps children, the elderly, veterans, and others form a human-dog bond by reading aloud to therapy dogs.

Given this background, it’s probably not surprising Ms. Louie is a Little Free Library enthusiast. When asked about her decision to become a LFL steward, she said, “As someone who’s been a lifelong reader, I’m always looking for an opportunity to put a book in someone’s hands.”

To find a registered Little Free Library, visit https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/ and enter a Zip Code, City/State, Steward’s Name, or other criteria on the interactive map—or, just drop by the Pensacola Housing office!