June 5, 2014 in Washington Voices

Salk students build Little Free Library for neighbor

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

Salk Middle School shop students from left, Tyler Orvik, Mikayla Morlan and Tucker Corkins, all 13, stand beside a Little Free Library they and other shop students built. It will be put up in Karen Kearney’s front yard in the Indian Trail neighborhood.
(Full-size photo)

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To find more information about Little Free Libraries or to locate one near you, visit littlefreelibrary.org/

Karen Kearney had an idea: She would like a Little Free Library in her neighborhood. Instead of building one by herself she approached nearby Salk Middle School and asked if a class there would be interested in the project.

“I’ve seen free libraries all over Spokane – just not one near me,” Kearney said.

Salk shop teacher Ken White presented the idea to his students and on Monday the finished library was ready for unveiling.

“It looks just like a little house,” said Tucker Corkins, 13, one of the students who worked on the project. “It’s been a cool project to work on.”

The little library is white with a shingled roof and a big front door that opens with an antique doorknob donated by Kearney.

“I wanted to make it aesthetically pleasing for the neighborhood,” Kearney said.

The library will be placed in her front yard near the intersection of West Woodside Avenue and Dell Drive.

Kearney is the chair of the Balboa/South Indian Trail Neighborhood Council and she saw the construction of the little library as a perfect partnership between the neighborhood council and the school.

“Partnering with the school district is an investment in our youth,” Kearney said.

This free library will be registered with littlefreelibrary.org a website that lists official Little Free Libraries across the globe. The free library idea is simple: put up a weather proof little bookcase or house-like structure, fill it with free books and watch as neighbors take some and leave others.

The free library idea has quickly become very popular: Littlefreelibrary.org shows 17 registered within Spokane city limits – six on the North Side of town and the rest to the south.

Mikayla Morlan, 13, and a student at Salk, said she plans to donate books to the little library.

“I have stacks and stacks of books, and I like to get new ones,” Morlan said.

What was her favorite part of the construction project?

“Painting. I loved the painting,” she said.

Tyler Orvik, 13, said he’s looking forward to seeing the library on his way to and from school.

“We all live very nearby so we can just walk by and check it out,” Orvik said.

Salk Principal Carole Meyer said the free library project fits perfectly with the school’s emphasis on reading and community service.

“The students who worked on the library did it as their community services project,” she said. “We believe it’s very important to get them involved in the community outside of school.”

Kearny said she will be adding a bench and some landscaping around the free library. And maybe a dog water bowl.

“I want it to be a nice little place,” she said.

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