Gannon University students and faculty are doing their part to help promote literacy and a love of reading by introducing to Erie the concept of the “Little Free Library.”
Gannon students and faculty constructed and recently installed Erie's first Little Free Library outside the Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania, 1101 Peach St.
Little Free Libraries resemble oversized birdhouses and are a type of community “book exchange.” Passersby or anyone can take a book, read it, and return it at their convenience. There is no charge to borrow books, and anyone may contribute books on their own.
Each Little Free Library is designed to hold at least two dozen books. The books for Gannon’s Little Free Libraries generously have been donated by the University’s Nash Library.
The Little Free Library movement originated in Wisconsin in 2009 as an outgrowth of a nonprofit organization, Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility. The organization’s mission is to create more than 2,510 Little Free Libraries – more than Andrew Carnegie – around the world.
In keeping with Gannon’s mission of service, volunteerism, and civic engagement, the University is introducing the libraries to northwestern Pennsylvania.
The Little Free Library outside the Mental Health Association is one of 11 that Gannon University is providing as a service to the Erie community. Others are being installed at the following locations:
- Community of Caring, East Twenty-first and German streets.
- The Linear Park on the Bayfront Bluffs. Gannon is placing two libraries at the park with the help of the Erie Community Foundation.
- Intermodal Transportation Center, 208 East Bayfront Parkway.
- Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park, 1501 West Sixth St.
- Martin Luther King Center, 312 Chestnut St.
- Dobbins Landing, foot of State Street.
- Schmid Towers, 153 East Sixth St.
- St. Benedict Center, 345 East Ninth St.
- Villa Maria Apartments, 819 West Eighth St.
The majority of the sites are within Gannon’s Erie-GAINS (Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability) neighborhood. The Erie-GAINS program represents a comprehensive effort by Gannon University to stimulate positive change and promote the viability and sustainability of downtown Erie and neighborhoods surrounding the campus.
Gannon’s Little Free Libraries have been designed and constructed by the students in the first-year seminar of Dr. Karinna Vernaza, associate professor, mechanical engineering.