Every year the Literacy Coalition of Florida publishes a book of essays written by Florida’s adult learners. Each edition is a collection of original short stories, poems, and autobiographical narratives. The books are inspirational and highlight not only the hard work of the students, but they also show the dedication of their tutors and teachers. I always keep a few recent and past editions at our learning center at Siena House in Largo, Florida.
One of our students, a high school student and recent refugee from the Congo, asked if she could take one of the essay books to read at home. She told me that she found the essays an inspiration. Both her face and mine glowed with happiness when I told her “Of course you can take one of the books” I asked her if she wanted to write an essay to submit for the next edition, but she said she wasn’t ready. She said “If I work hard, one day I will be able to write well enough in English to have something published.” I am delighted that she has set herself a new goal.
Little Free Libraries have been popping up around my community. I noticed one of the libraries had been installed along the path to the beach I frequent. What better place to read than the beach! Sometimes I add books and magazines. I thought about the Literacy Coalition’s books and had an idea. What if I put some of them in the Little Free Library with a brochure from our local literacy council tucked inside?
I contacted Pat Bauer, the president of the Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas to see if it would be ok and asked if she would provide some of the books and brochures. She gave me a stack of past editions and plenty of brochures. Now, each time I go to the beach I drop off a few of the books. They are always gone when I come back! Now I am thinking about putting the Florida Literacy Coalition’s books in other Little Free Libraries in our community too.