Mini libraries are popping up at local business all over Santa Barbara, thanks to the efforts of Santa Barbara Middle School’s Community Action Club. It’s their effort to celebrate National Literacy Month and to share the adventure and joy found inside the pages of a book.
Sophia Alexander, an eighth grade Community Action Club member said, “Knowing that other people are going to pick up a book from one of our bookshelves and be able to take an adventure by reading that book is what makes me excited about this project.”
What started as small idea to host a book drive at their school quickly turned into a full-blown community outreach effort to support and celebrate reading. Once book donations came pouring in, students in the club reached out to local businesses to see if they would be interested in hosting one of their make-shift libraries. The response was an overwhelming “Yes” from every business.
When Sherry Villanueva, Santa Barbara Middle School alum parent and owner of The Lark and Lucky Penny in the Funk Zone was approached, she said, “This sounds like fun!” and quickly connected the team with the manager at Lucky Penny to make this happen.
Both Jeannine’s in Montecito and downtown were excited by the concept, and quickly cleared space in their restaurants to set up these libraries. Alison Katnic, owner and manager of the Montecito store said, “We’d love to support this idea. It fits in nicely with our clients at our restaurants.”
Students began to organize books into boxes based on what they predicted the clientele at each business would prefer. Sports and adventure books were placed in boxes destined for Hazards Cyclesport, A-Frame Surf Shop, and Handlebar Coffee, whereas popular adult fiction was slated for Lovebird Boutique, The French Press, and Ablitt’s Dry Cleaners. Children’s books and new parent guide books went into the box slated for Santa Barbara Birth Center.
The Community Action Club shopped at thrift stores and asked parents at their school to donate possible containers that could serve as “pop up” libraries. Crates, repurposed bookshelves, guitar cases, and vintage suitcases quickly became accessible libraries for the Santa Barbara community.
As the team of young do-gooders headed out into the community to install these temporary libraries, the excitement amongst the team was as palpable as a good page-turner.
Abby Vega, a seventh grade Community Action Club member hopes that, “People really get into this project and do what the sign says – it’s a Book Exchange — give a book, get a book. Let’s get people reading!”
Santa Barbara Middle School would like to thank the local businesses that are supporting this project and celebrating the joy and adventure that comes with a good book.
Look for “pop up” Book Exchanges at the following locations: A-Frame Surf Shop, Ablitt’s Dry Cleaners, Backyard Bowls, Cutting Edge Hair & Body Salon, The French Press, Handlebar Coffee Roasters, Hazards Cyclesport, Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery, Lovebird Boutique, Lucky Penny, Santa Barbara Birth Center, and Village Properties.