The sidewalk in front of the Hall of Letters is a popular pedestrian route.
“So, it’s a perfect location,” said Professor Heather King of the Little Free Library box that now stands on campus full of books for all to borrow and read.
The University’s student chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, and other contributors worked together to install the Little Free Library on the corner near the Hall of Letters Rose Garden. The Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to increase the availability of books to members of all communities across the United States and encourage inspiration through reading.
A reader can simply visit the nearest library box, grab a book or leave another for someone else to enjoy; there are dozens of Free Little Library boxes in the city of Redlands.
The members of Sigma Tau Delta first imagined creating a shelf for sharing books with each other on campus, and at King’s suggestion, the idea was expanded into a Little Free Library in hopes of reaching the larger community.
“The goal is to enact the University’s mission of lifelong learning by supporting reading through making books easily accessible and something that neighbors, however broadly we might define that, can exchange,” said King, the honor society’s advisor. “The emphasis on reading is why it made sense for Sigma Tau Delta to back this effort.”
Last year’s Sigma Tau Delta President Olivia Umstead ’22 organized a student “thank you” to the donors who helped make the library box a reality. University Advancement Director of Annual Giving Jessica Pfahler assisted the fundraising process through the University’s “Giving Day” last year, allowing the group to raise the needed funds to purchase and install the box.
“The range of supporters was amazing, from graduating seniors to Laura Gallardo ’03, ’22 and Jeff Van Ry ’92,” said King, who also supported the project with a donation. “Having that sweep of support makes the library all the more meaningful.”
The current Sigma Tau Delta president, Brandley Simms ’23 (who joined his grandmother in financially supporting the project), said that the honor society also wanted the library box to be dedicated to a group “who might be lacking love in our community; so, we adorned it with a plaque honoring the class of 2020, because they did not have an in-person commencement ceremony. This project seemed to be the perfect way to conjoin our passion for literature with our desire to leave a compassionate impact on the campus.”
Roger Cellini, senior associate vice president of Facilities Management, along with Director for Facilities Operations Melinda Sanchez, Director of Grounds and Waste Management Justin Peloquin, and others from his team helped select the location for the Little Free Library and installed the box.
“Roger was immediately receptive to the idea, and we all agreed that the sidewalk in front of Hall of Letters is a popular pedestrian route, so it's a perfect location,” King said. “The library is getting plenty of visits from students, staff, and Redlands’ locals who walk through the campus.” Maintained by King and Sigma Tau Delta, the library has already been fully restocked several times with books of different genres and reading levels. Young adult books are moving the most quickly.
Mary Littlejohn, assistant director of Alumni and Community Relations, was one of the first to donate books to the project, and Nick Poveda ’22 made a special trip to campus over the summer to drop off books. All donations are welcome, and organizers hope to expand the selection of children’s books. Those interested in donating can email King, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional donors to the project include Deborah Arroyo ’08, Andonia Carter ’02, ’08, Katie Cure ’97, Tasha Greenberg ’14, David James Heiss ’95, Brianne Lucero ’03, Anna O’Meara ’22, Hans Nielsen, Marissa Peronace ’95, and Linda Simms ’62.
To find registered Little Free Library locations, visit Little Free Library.