Little Free Library opens to all at Megan Cope Elementary School

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Posing before the new “Little Free Library” from right are Cece Stevens and Chuck Willerup who donated the kiosk to Megan Cope Elementary School and community with teacher Lauren Fontes and PTA mother Darla Bailey who brought the idea for the donation to the couple. Tony Ault photo

The unveiling of the “Little Free Library” at San Jacinto’s Megan Cope Elementary School Friday, Nov. 15, brought excitement and curiosity to the school’s 600 K-5 students.

The Little Free Library was donated to the school and the community by San Jacinto residents Cece Stevens and Chuck Willerup who opened the library kiosk to not only Megan Cope students but to parents and other children who can pick up a donated book from the free library kiosk night or day to take home and read. The only condition is that readers must return the book, or a replacement book, when they’re done.

The Little Free Library is located in front of the school at Cottonwood and Cawston avenues in San Jacinto. It is more than an opportunity for children to have and read a book of their own choosing for free, according to Megan Cope principal Tye Allenbrand.

Megan Cope Elementary School principal Tye Allenbrand with the help of school custodian Juan Micciche place the new “Little Free Library” kiosk in front of the school at Cottonwood and Cawston Avenues in San Jacinto. Anyone can stop by and pick out a donated book in the kiosk in front of the school, take it home, read it and return it for another book later. Tony Ault photo

“It is a bridge with the community,” he said, “between their children, Megan Cope and the school district to better educate and provide free reading opportunity to everyone.

“Everyone will have access to it,” the principal said.

The kiosk was first placed in the middle of the central playground as a part of the school’s “Fabulous Friday” celebration that recognizes students and teachers for their outstanding performances during the week. The kiosk with the wood door was new to children who crowded around it excited to learn what it was.

One student read the inscription out loud: “Little Red Library. Have a Book? Leave a Book. Need a Book? Take a Book.”

He quickly replied, “When can I get one? Can I have one?”

Stevens praised Megan Cope Elementary teacher Lauren Fontes and PTA mother Darla Bailey for bringing the idea to her and her husband for a Little Free Library.

The Little Free Library is the world’s largest book-sharing movement looking to “Building Community. Sparking Creativity and Inspiring Readers.” There are three other Little Free Libraries in the two Hemet and San Jacinto Valley area. The nonprofit Little Free Library provides kiosk building plans and registration for those interested in installing one in or near local schools.

Stevens said the opportunity to provide books free to everyone because they give “power and knowledge to everyone. Knowledge is power.”

“We wanted to reach out to everyone,” she said. “And to bring a ripple of change for good to all. One ripple makes another and it goes on and on….We are happy to be a part of our community.”

The couple had help rebuilding the Little Free Library from the plans sent out by the organization.

“It is registered with them,” she said.

Find more information about The Little Free Library at www.littlefreelibrary.org.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.