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Nearly two dozen birdhouse-sized neighborhood lending libraries will be popping up around Citrus Heights in April, thanks to a community vision to promote reading and the collaborative efforts of the Citrus Heights Rotary Club, the City’s History and Arts Commission, business sponsors, and a team of construction management students from San Juan High School.
Known as “Little Free Libraries,” the small, free-standing neighborhood book exchanges are designed “to promote a sense of community, reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world,” according to the Little Free Library organization’s website.
With no late fines or requirements for library cards, each mini-library promises its readers with the free gift knowledge, under the founding principle of “take a book, return a book.”
Stewarded by a business, neighborhood, community group, or family, the Citrus Heights mini-libraries are part of a growing movement whose founding organization now estimates nearly 25,000 to be operating worldwide, since the first one was constructed in 2009.
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With the local effort spearheaded by Citrus Heights History and Arts Commissioner Jessica Mang, volunteers plan to install 20 Little Free Libraries around Citrus Heights on April 11, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Stock Ranch Preserve, and ending with a final installation and volunteer picnic at Van Maren Park around 1 p.m., according to a news release from the History and Arts Commission.
The collaborative effort has included book donations from Sylvan Library and construction materials donated by Home Depot and Lowes, according to the news release. Additionally, SJHS construction management students helped build the 20 mini-libraries, modeling their design after the City’s original 1862 Sylvan Schoolhouse.
Local business and community groups have also helped sponsor the construction of the libraries, with each being responsible for maintaining the library and keeping it stocked with books.
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The Little Free Libraries will be located on 20 public sites throughout Citrus Heights, including Rusch Park, Stock Ranch Preserve, the Sylvan Community Center and the City’s new “Green Parking Lot” next to the police department.
At least one local “little library” was in place prior to the involvement of the History and Arts Commission, holding a prominent spot in the front yard of a home on Leonard Avenue, filled mostly with children’s books.
Those seeking more information or sponsorship opportunities are asked to contact Jessica Mang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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