Little Free Libraries have done so much to change my life, and this year, Sigma Tau Delta has allowed me to give back to my community and make that impact in the lives of others. All across the country, the nonprofit group Little Free Library has established an equitable system of book-sharing for communities looking to promote literacy, learning, and the joyful love of reading. Many of my summers living at the Jersey shore have been spent checking out little libraries local to my area, seeking out newfound favorites from their collections or donating a well-loved work from my own shelf. As the prices of books go up every year, these little libraries play a key role in removing the financial burden that community literacy can pose. Everyone deserves equitable access to reading, and these community donation boxes achieve exactly that.
As one of the Co-Vice Presidents for The College of New Jersey’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, I spent quite a bit of time considering how to leave a positive impact on my campus that furthers the goals of the Society. I always joked with David Roberts, fellow member of our Alpha Epsilon Alpha chapter and the president of the Political Science honor society, that our campus would be such a wonderful spot for a little library, and then it struck us: why not be the ones to make it happen? We spent the remainder of the fall semester writing grant applications and location proposals for our libraries, and after several months of work, we learned we were approved! Our collaborative effort received grants from both the national offices of Sigma Tau Delta and Pi Sigma Alpha to cover the costs of our project, turning our dream into a reality.
As a student hoping to become a future librarian, accessibility in literature is my biggest passion. In order to encourage community use, we placed two libraries on our campus: one right outside the student center in the heart of campus, and the other right next to the bus stop. We wanted to ensure that use was encouraged not only for students, but for faculty, staff, visitors, and neighbors in the community. Our collection is rapidly changing, with donations coming in as fast as they go out into the hands of readers in our town. We prioritize positive, fun, free literature for all, and always ensure that there are children’s books available for young families in the area.
For the opening celebration of our little libraries, we held a book drive event to encourage use and raise awareness of this new initiative on our campus! We served food and drinks, and most importantly, we invited our guests to bring a pre-loved book with them to share with other readers in our community. Guests were encouraged to leave notes in the front of books, talking about their own experiences with it and why they hoped others would love it too. We had a wonderful turnout, collecting countless books spanning from genres of fiction, nonfiction, children’s, graphic novels, and more! Since our opening event, and because the libraries are equipped with visit counters, we can estimate that they are used around 60 times per day, with over 400 visits per week. This project benefits our community each and every day; our work would not have been possible without the support of Sigma Tau Delta’s Chapter Service Project Grant, and for that, our campus community is so grateful!
Sigma Tau Delta Chapter Service Project Grants
Sigma Tau Delta’s Chapter Service Project Grants are designed to encourage local chapters to be innovative in developing projects that further the vision and goals of the Society. The Society will award a limited number of grants, for no more than $500 each, to support local chapter activities. Funds may be requested for separate projects or for parts of larger projects, and chapters should explore ways to use Service Project Grants in combination with funds secured from other sources. Funds may be requested for ongoing projects, but there is no guarantee that projects funded during one grant period will receive funding in future grant periods.
Applications must be complete and received by November 6, 2023. No late submissions will be accepted. Award winners will be notified by December 11, 2023, with one-half of the awarded funds mailed in early January; the other half when a final project reflection is submitted. The Final Project Reflection is due May 1, 2024.
Sigma Tau Delta Project Service Grant Resources
More Chapter Service Project Grant Reports
Launching Lit Week: Celebrating Literature with a Project Grant
Honoring Writing and the Creative Arts with a Project Grant
Ravens and RiverMead Read!
When Words Come to Life
Leo’s Little Free Library
Online Tutoring Partnership
Restocking the Military Resource Center’s Lending Library
Writing Contest for Secondary Schools
AuthorShip! Writing Contest
Little Free Library
Common Reader Community Discussion
English Careers Event