North Kitsap High School senior Katie Stuart is one of many recipients of the Todd H. Bol Outstanding Achievement award for her work with Little Free Libraries across Kitsap County.
Little Free Libraries are small kiosks where folks can exchange books for free; some serve as a free pantry as well. These have been popping up in neighborhoods all over North Kitsap for some time, and in 2015 Stuart established a Little Free Library off of Winesap Court in Poulsbo, entirely dedicated to children’s books, in an effort to make reading more accessible to and fun for kids.
“As a child, and even now, I always loved finding new books to read wherever I could, and a children’s Little Free Library near me would have meant so much,” Stuart said. “I have seen so many kids come back week after week because they discovered a love of reading at my Little Free Library.”
Stuart runs a Facebook page dedicated to showing off all of the Little Free Libraries across North Kitsap. During the summer of 2020, Stuart hosted a book drive that focused on distributing books that focused on inclusivity and distributing them to as many of the Little Free Libraries as she could.
The founder of the Little Free Libraries movement, Todd H. Bol, died of pancreatic cancer in October of 2018, but his mission was to change the world through acts of kindness.
LFL executive director Greig Metzger said of Stuart, “Her volunteer efforts exemplify the vision of the late founder of Little Free Library, Todd Bol, to engage communities and enrich lives through the power of shared books. Through her effort, Katie has made her community a better place to be.”
In addition to supporting Little Free Libraries, Stuart has adapted over 50 books for online use and has also during the COVID-19 pandemic recorded books for digital use by students. Stuart also serves on the city of Poulsbo’s Community Services Committee and is the only student liaison to the City Council.