POULSBO — On May 30, it was all about books at Vinland Elementary School. Free books.
As their graduation gift to the school, Vinland Elementary’s fifth-grade class donated a “Little Free Library” to the school and then filled it up with books.
The idea was the brainchild of school librarian Rebecca Ryan, PTSA project coordinator Kelli Ondusko and her co-coordinator, Adam Strong. The library itself — resembling a bird house for very large eagles, with a big glass front door — sits on a post just outside of the main entrance to the school and is loaded with free books.
Volunteer Gary Vance, a retired firefighter, built the structure and cut out “about 100” puzzle tile pieces, enough so that every fifth-grader had at least one to paint. After the students painted their tiles, Vance glued them to the sides of the library. All told, Vance and Ordusko estimated the project took about 100 hours to complete.
Abigail Stone, Everlyn Beers, Andrew Jevek and Eally Ondusko, each representing one of the four fifth-grade classes, unveiled the “Vinland Elementary Little Free Library” and explained how the Little Free Library movement got started.
The movement got started in 2009, they said. That’s when the first Little Free Library was built. It’s motto was “Take a book. Return a book.” Today, there are more than 50,000 such libraries around the world distributing millions of free books annually.
So, why does book access matter? According to the Little Free Library website, https://littlefreelibrary.org, research has shown that “one of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase their access to books, especially at home … But according to the U.S. Department of Education, up to 61 percent of low-income families do not have any books for their kids at home.”
According to the Little Free Library website, there already are nine registered Little Free Libraries in North Kitsap.
And now Vinland Elementary makes 10.