A Flushing school teacher along with Councilman Peter Koo and Queens Botanical Garden introduced the first Free Little Library at the Garden with a green ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.
Located at the Pebble Yard by the Education Building, the Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share. The goals of the Little Free Library are to build community, spark creativity and inspire readers.
Andy Yung, a pre-K teacher at P.S. 244Q The Active Learning Elementary School, said the gift of literacy is a gift that sparks an endless cycle of giving.
“It takes a village to raise a child and our school hopes to take the initiative and play an active role in helping, not only the families in our school, but the families all over our community to become lifelong readers,” Yung said. “The Little Free Library, funded through DonorsChoose.org, will allow us to take those first steps in getting books into the hands of the children in the Flushing community, the same community I grew up in, which holds a very special place in my heart.”
According to Yung, there may be some children who don’t have access to books at home and aren’t exposed to them, since parents cannot afford to buy books or have the time or commitment to take their children to the library.
That’s when Yung realized there are other families in the community that may experience the same dilemma, he wrote on the DonorsChoose.org page.
“The Little Free Library gives the members of our community access to books to take home. We now have one directly in front of our school, one in our playground for our kids to read during recess, and we have established a partnership with our local botanical garden to house another library there so we can broaden our impact and give our community the gift of literacy,” Yung said on the website.
Koo thanked Yung and Queens Botanical Garden for creating new ways to involve and educate children.
“The Little Free Library is a great way for our local school kids to get engaged with one of the borough’s most unique cultural institutions right in their backyard,” Koo said. “‘Take a book, return a book’ gives kids a chance to share their favorite stories and get excited about discovering new stories from their peers.”
Queens Botanical Garden Assistant Director Rebecca Wolf said, “With the Little Free Library, we’re now also welcoming our visitors to share books with each other and to promote literacy.”