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Group Works To Bring Little Free Libraries To Phoenix-Area Neighborhoods

Little Free Libraries
(Photo courtesy of Southwest Human Development)
Shutterfly employees partnered with Southwest Human Development to build and paint a Little Free Library.

In spring of 2015, students across Arizona sat down to take the first AzMERIT test in reading, writing and math.

The number of third graders who passed the reading test was 41 percent. Terri Clark is the Arizona literacy director for Read on Arizona and said reading difficulty at that grade level is a cause for concern.

So what do students need to do before third grade to pass that test? Well, the answer, of course, is to read and be read to. Clark said a challenge is that families don’t always have access to a lot of books at home.

If families are having trouble getting to the library, why not bring the library to families? That’s the strategy behind Little Free Libraries. They look similar to big birdcages on posts with a clear window on the front to see the books inside. Jake Adams is chief development officer for Southwest Human Development, which is challenging groups to build 100 Little Free Libraries across the Valley in the next year. He spoke about the challenge.

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Annika Cline was born in Germany, raised in California and transplanted to Arizona. She studied at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.Cline produces and reports for KJZZ’s original production, The Show, covering stories from all corners of the Valley as well as bringing listeners a slice of their own community in the weekly Sounds of the City series.Cline also volunteers as an art instructor for foster youths and their families.