Implement Little Free Libraries around campus

Alyssa Ramos, Associate Editor

From holding a physical copy of a book to reading the words on a screen, reading is an inherently individualistic activity.

That is, unless you involve your community. 

Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that encourages reading and builds community through its public book-sharing box. Little Free Libraries typically appear around neighborhoods as wooden boxes with glass windows situated atop a stake. Anyone can open the box’s glass door and either leave a book inside for others or take one in exchange. 

Although the libraries around campus carry more than just scholarly books in their catalog, they might not have what students are looking for. Students need more than just academic books in their repertoire. The University should incorporate Little Free Libraries around campus to encourage students to read for leisure while being accessible and building a stronger community.

While there are multiple libraries on campus at students’ disposal, the rows and rows of books are difficult to navigate and can be intimidating. Unlike the University’s library system, Little Free Library’s constant book exchange allows people to take control of their box’s selection through community curation.  

Little Free Library’s book exchange lets people broaden their book tastes or share their own with others. Using Little Free Libraries is also an easy way to associate with the people in your community while enjoying yourself. 

Even though the University libraries have a larger and richer set of literature, they still lack the warmth needed during the stressful academic year. On the other hand, Little Free Libraries are simple, straightforward and provide a sense of childlike curiosity. 

“I’ve seen little libraries (in) my hometown, and I think they’re a great idea,” environmental engineering sophomore Tabitha Anaya said. “I think there’s some sort of thrill when you go to a (Little Free Library) and see a new book or a new selection, and you can kind of tell who’s reading what in your area.”

Due to the pandemic, leisure reading became a popular pastime and continues to hold popularity. However, not everyone has the time or money to read recreationally — especially since book prices range from $10 to $20 each. 

Nonetheless, leisure reading has multiple benefits like reducing stress and increasing cognitive development. Students would benefit from having multiple Little Free Libraries on campus due to their affordability and accessibility. 

With frequent deadlines and rigorous classes, UT can often be a stressful environment for students. Having Little Free Libraries on campus is needed to maintain a good academic-life balance.

Catherine Hamer, director of academic engagement, believes that adding Little Free Libraries on campus will help students balance their hobbies and academic lives. 

“There’s so much learning that you can get from reading for pleasure or leisure; it’s like a gift to yourself,” Hamer said. “But it’s not in a way that feels like this is something I have to be doing. This is something that I’m letting myself do.”

Ramos is a journalism sophomore from Laredo, Texas.