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Tempe Greenlights Future Funding For Mini Neighborhood Libraries

Kolby Granville)
Tempe residents built 26 little libraries with money from a pilot program.

Little libraries have popped up in Valley neighborhoods and even one barbershop

Tempe City Council Member Kolby Granville now counts more than 30 little free libraries in Tempe, 26 were funded by a pilot program that reimburses people for building the colorful book boxes.

“We encourage the creation of a sense of community, and I think these neighborhood libraries have proven they do a really good job of that,” Granville said.

Tempe City Council last week decided to make the pilot reimbursement program permanent and set aside funding in next year's budget. It’s thought to be one of few cities in the country to fund the community-created libraries

The city made $2,500 available to each of its four ZIP codes in August as part of a pilot program. Residents could submit receipts for the material used to make the neighborhood libraries and receive reimbursement up to $300.

The neighborhoods in 85282 created the most little free libraries, 11, while the residents of 85284 created the fewest, two.

While City Code allows the libraries, Granville said some homeowners association rules have made it difficult for residents in the south part of the city.

Staff has requested another $10,000 toward the library reimbursement program for the next fiscal year.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit that helps people start little free libraries; its map of Tempe shows 33 little libraries.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story and headline has been updated to reflect that the Tempe City Council voted to make the pilot program permanent last week.

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.