GYA Empowers Teens To Build Little Free Libraries – Part 1

LFL HS 1GYA works to bring global ideas to youth in a local setting. Some programs, like Romance Academy, will be at every GYA site in the future. Other programs will be based on local need and interest.

GYA is currently piloting a series of local programs in the city of Portsmouth, Virginia. Through a partnership with the Friends of the Portsmouth Public Library, we will be working with teens across the city to build Little Free Libraries.

A Little Free Library is just that – it’s a small box (house, tub, shelf or even microwave) that is in a neighborhood, community center or business where residents can take and leave books freely as many times as they’d like. The goal in Portsmouth is to get books into ‘book deserts’, which means a place with little or no access to books – a community without easy access to a book store or public library.

Our first session was spent with youth from the HER Shelter, the Portsmouth Housing Authority and nearby neighborhoods. The HER Shelter sponsored the event and provided a space to work for all the teens. We got off to a slow start but then the momentum took over and three teams each built (measured, supported the sawing efforts of an adult, assembled and painted) the basic shell for their library and got it coated in stain. Soon they will come back together and complete the projects and have three libraries complete and ready for placement in the local community.

A huge thanks goes out to the HER Shelter for hosting, Deep Creek Baptist Church for providing volunteers and tools, Lowe’s for their staff’s kind assistance (as it’s possible the Executive Director asked them 100 questions about what to get for the project) and to Friends of the Library for providing the funding for this project. A special thanks also goes out to GYA’s Community Advocate, Josh Curry, for all his carpenter skills and fast thinking on the day to get the project off the ground.


Check back soon for an update on the finished project.

Interested in knowing more about the Little Free Library project and how to get one in your area? Contact us.