This LFL is Charter 37577, and has been created and organized by Mountain Communities Literacy Council member Belinda Woody. We would like to thank Belinda and her family members for all their hard work and dedication to literacy!
One of the projects Mountain Communities Literacy Council has in the works is the installation of Little Free Libraries in various communities. Council member Belinda Woody kick-started the project and will be installing a library at the Micaville post office. She plans to have her Little Free Library open by May. Thanks to a generous donation from Chip Smith of the Asheville Citizen-Times, MCLC now has several sturdy plastic paper racks to use for the Little Free Library project. This past Saturday, member Vivian Stevens and her husband, Bill, volunteered to haul most of the racks to Burnsville. The remaining few will be picked up this week, thanks to Melissa McIntyre.
Now that we have structures to use for our libraries, we are in need of books! We need books for all ages and interests. If you have new or gently used books you would like to donate, please contact us here or through our Facebook page. If you can't donate, please share and spread the word! Thank you for your help!
What is a Little Free Library?
It's simple! A Little Free Library is a structure placed in your community or neighborhood that gives community members a place to exchange books. Patrons are asked to "take a book, leave a book." However, one of the main goals of MCLC is to get books into the hands of families and children who need them, so community members who might not have a book to leave are welcome to borrow books from the libraries and return them when finished! Click through the slide show below for some creative examples of Little Free Libraries.
Why would I want to use a Little Free Library?
How can I get a Little Free Library in my neighborhood?
How can I help MCLC with the Little Free Library project?
We're glad you asked! You can volunteer to steward a library in your neighborhood, donate new or gently used books to MCLC for use in the libraries, donate money for the purchase of books, volunteer to paint/decorate/prepare one of the MCLC libraries, or volunteer to haul and set up an MCLC library. You may even have some other suggestions to help us get these libraries into communities all across our area. If you want to help, please contact us!
MCLC held its third council meeting of the year on Thursday, March 24, 2016.
Brinkley Fox, Karen Gurley, Belinda Woody, Vivian Stevens, Billie Gurley, Stacey McEntyre-Greene, guest Julie Weatherman, and guest Jennifer Simpson
On the agenda:
Brinkley Fox gave introductory packets to our two guest attendees, Julie Weatherman and Jennifer Simpson, then opened the meeting by updating the council on the Phi Kappa Phi Hospital Project grant. Fox has been in contact with Teressa Neil of Blue Ridge Regional Hospital to gain support for a community outreach program which would provide literacy packets to send home with new parents. These packets would include picture books and literacy information to support child and family literacy activities from birth. As a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Fox was able to apply for a literacy grant which, if awarded, will provide funding to make this program a reality. Grant awards will be announced in early June.
Karen Gurley informed the council that Chip Smith, Distribution Director for the Asheville Citizen-Times, was able to donate twelve plastic paper racks that could be used for MCLC's Little Free Library projects. Belinda Woody gave an update on the Little Free Library she is sponsoring. Woody stated that her project is in the works and will be placed at the Micaville post office. Council members and guests discussed ideas for purchasing books for the libraries. Woody suggested that LFL stewards use a "Not for Sale" stamp in all library books to help protect purchased books. Guest Jennifer Simpson informed the council of the AMY Wee Trade children's consignment sale coming up in April and said that this might be one way to get a good bargain on used books.
Billie Gurley had compiled some statistics on crime and literacy which were shared with the council. Council members discussed inviting one or more members of local law enforcement to the next meeting to discuss ways in which MCLC and law enforcement might partner in light of these statistics. Gurley also shared several ideas she would like to present to law enforcement, including installing a Little Free Library in the visiting room of the county jail to encourage parent and child reading, books to keep in patrol cars which could be handed out to children during domestic calls, and providing books for students who participate in "Shop with a Cop" each Christmas season.
Karen Gurley updated the council on the "developing council" status through the North Carolina Reading Association. NCRA State Coordinator Danna Grimes had been in contact with Gurley, and had committed to sending information needed to establish MCLC as an affiliated chapter of NCRA.
Gurley also informed the council that she was pursuing a partnership with the low-income housing sites at Woodland Apartments in Burnsville and Cane Creek Village in Bakersville. These partnerships would bring read-aloud programs to the children living in the apartments and, if funding is secured, would provide books for children to take home. These sites may also be future Little Free Library sites as well. With this commitment to serve low-income families, MCLC was able to register with the First Book organization which provides free and very low-cost books for programs which specifically serve the low-income population. Boxes of books can be often be purchased through First Book for just the cost of shipping (usually $0.55 to $0.75 per book).
Brinkley Fox asked Julie Weatherman to share about the Lamplighters program in Mitchell County. Weatherman gave the council background information about how Lamplighters was formed and gave the council several ideas on how to pursue similar partnerships in Yancey County.
Jennifer Simpson also shared about her organization, the Blue Ridge Partnership for Children. She also gave the council information about the upcoming Child Fest 2016 in Spruce Pine. MCLC was invited to participate.
The meeting was then opened up for ideas and feedback. Council members stated they would be interested in an e-newsletter for members. A version for the community would likely be included. Fox requested ideas for obtaining start-up money to cover printing and other expenses. Julie Weatherman suggested a Whoo's Reading fundraiser. The council also discussed the process for being recognized as a non-profit in order to accept tax-deductible donations from businesses and community members. Jennifer Simpson noted that, as a chapter of NCRA, the council may fall under the NCRA non-profit umbrella. Gurley stated that if the council had to apply for non-profit status on its own, assistance from an attorney would likely be necessary. Stacey McEntyre-Greene suggested a local attorney who might be interested in working with the council. It was also mentioned that the council would like to seek out a work space/office a little further in the future, once the council is more established. Obtaining a post office box for correspondence was also mentioned.
Council members set the next meeting date for Thursday, April 28 at 5:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the community room of United Community Bank. At this point, the meeting was adjourned.
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, Mountain Communities Literacy Council members came together for its second council meeting of the year. On the agenda:
Fox gave an update regarding a YouTube channel discussed in the January meeting. The channel will target both children and adults. Children's videos will include picture book read-alouds. Adult videos will focus on educational topics regarding family literacy.
Belinda Woody told council members that she was in the process of installing a "Little Free Library" at the Micaville post office location. She shared that she had received permission from the postal service to install the library and that she is in the process of procuring a discarded paper box to re-purpose for the project. Woody also gave members more information regarding the registration and stewardship of the Little Free Libraries from their websites. Members stated that they would like to see the libraries sponsored in all communities. Stacey McEntyre-Greene shared a possible location and noted that she could help with the upkeep of the library if one were to be placed there. Jeannie Jones offered the use of a large number of children's books for the libraries. Woody and Vivian Stevens discussed where good, used books could be found for the project.
Karen Gurley discussed the need for a council member who could act as a contact for local newspapers. Belinda Woody volunteered to be the contact person. Fox shared that if the papers would run them, she and Gurley would provide the columns. Gurley also stressed the importance of the council's social media pages and encouraged members to share and promote the MCLC Facebook page.
Gurley also shared a community event opportunity with the group. She suggested that the council apply for a small area at a local craft show in order to read picture books aloud to any children who might attend the show and to hand out literature regarding literacy and MCLC. After a discussion, the group agreed that it would be a good opportunity for the ouncil. Gurley noted that she would contact the event coordinator to see if there was space available for such an activity.
McEntyre-Greene reminded the council of the importance of seeking donations from the community and council members. A discussion regarding placing a donation jar/basket at community events and at monthly council meetings took place. McEntyre-Greene also shared information about a potential partnership with a South Carolina resident who has ties to WNC and currently funds projects in two local elementary schools.
McEntyre-Greene discussed a project focused on military families. This project is implemented through the government's Civil Rights Data Collection program. It focuses on children in military homes.
The last order of business involved discussing community members that could be approached about joining MCLC. A list of nine names was created. Plans were made for contacting those on the list to introduce them to MCLC and invite them to attend the next meeting. Billie Gurley discussed the idea of inviting a member of the Yancey County Sheriff's Department.
Council members set the next meeting for Thursday, March 24, 2016. Locations for council meetings was briefly discussed. Fox shared that United Community Bank would allow the council to meet in their community room. The public library continued to be an option as well. A third possibility, the Mountain Heritage Center, was also mentioned. At this point, the meeting was adjourned.
The inaugural meeting of the Mountain Communities Literacy Council (MCLC) was held on Thursday, January 19, 2016. The meeting took place at the Yancey County Public Library at 4:00 p.m. Those present included Brinkley Fox and Karen Gurley (co-founders of the council), Belinda Woody, Vivian Stevens, Billie Gurley, Stacey McEntyre-Greene, and Jeannie Jones.
The meeting began with some background information about how and why the council was formed. Some of the information shared included:
Information was also shared about some of the programs and activities the council would like to see implemented in the future. These included: