SAN BENITO — Save your books and give them away to young readers.
The San Benito school district has been actively encouraging reading in all its schools.
To push this endeavor further and expand the minds of students, the district implemented an interesting way the community and its students can share books.
It all started with an idea from the police department, which has been a major proponent of this initiative.
“We brought them this idea and they ran with it,” said Police Chief Michael Galvan.
Little libraries have been set up at various schools.
The district currently has eight Little Free Libraries.
The first two were won as prizes at a Region One Media Fair a few years ago by Rangerville Elementary and Berta Cabaza Middle School librarians, according to the district’s library coordinator Linda Villarreal.
The small structures conveniently located at campus entrances all have a unique style but provide the same service — a book exchange.
How it works is one person takes a book while also leaving a book. When that person is done with that book, they are encouraged to return the book and grab another one.
Interested residents can also donate books to these little libraries.
“We currently have eight Little Free Libraries in the district. Last year, we started plans to have more built and installed at some of the other campuses,” Villarreal.
With the help of the building trades class at the high school, this year six little libraries were completed for the La Paloma, Angela Leal, Judge Oscar De La Fuente, Riverside, Frank Roberts and Landrum campuses.
Students enrolled in San Benito High School’s Construction Technology Program are instructed by Candido Barrales. They have been hard at work designing and building the wooden structures.
“The libraries being built by our high school students are all different and unique. They are given to the schools unfinished, so that the school is able to paint and decorate them to personalize it to each campus,” Villarreal said.
These structures will be put up throughout the community in the very near future, allowing residents to select books to read and/or leave books for others to read.
In the near future the district hopes to purchase material to build little libraries for Cash, Miller Jordan Middle School, the high school, Ed Downs, Veterans Memorial Academy and La Encantada.
In addition, Galvan said the police department will be assisting the district with funding the registration fees so the district can copyright “Little Free Libraries.”
Galvan said they will be using asset forfeiture funds for this community outreach project.
The Little Free Library is a nonprofit that started in 2012. Their mission is to inspire readers in the community. Through these libraries millions of books are exchanged each year, according to their website. To learn more about the program visit their website, littlefreelibrary.org.