Little Free Libraries: One honors society helps bring book lending to GS

Araya Jackson

By Araya Jackson

The George-Anne staff

A small ‘telephone-booth-turned lending library’ in Germany has now paved the way for a new project in the Statesboro community and Georgia Southern campus.

The idea stemmed from three seniors’ Southern Leaders Legacy group project. Jennifer Shaffer, Ashley Archer and Marisa Turner have been working on this project since April, and are finally about to get their own lending libraries on the ground.

Called the Boro Book Nooks, these communal free libraries are designed to spread the love of reading, and are based on a “take a book, leave a book” principle, so anyone can enjoy reading a good story, and you can share one of your own favorites.

Shaffer, senior mechanical engineering and German double major and vice president of Phi Kappa Phi was the one originally inspired by the telephone library.

Phi Kappa Phi is a collegiate honors society with chapters at campuses around the country, including GS.

Shaffer collaborated extensively with the honors society and their faculty president Carolyn Bryan, Ph.D, to host the current book drive to get the nooks up and running.

“I’m excited to see this idea come together from different sides [Phi Kapp Phi and Southern Leaders]. It’s been rewarding to work with Jenny and brainstorm with her about ways to get the word out about the book drive,” Bryan said.

The nooks are welcomed gently new and used books of any genre for any age, whether it be fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, poetry, biography or mystery. They also encourage all donors to leave a little inscription on the inside to explain why you chose your books to leave.

Shaffer explained that the Statesboro Regional Library has also been instrumental in helping them launch the project.

The library’s “52 Weeks of Giving” volunteer group helped them complete the painting of the first three Boro Book Nook libraries. The libraries are made from re-purposed magazine kiosks.

“Their young community volunteers did an amazing job with decorating the Boro Book Nooks and gave them each their own unique personality,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer and the rest of those involved are hoping that this will help link campus and the Statesboro community even closer together.

“The lending libraries tend to evolve to reflect the tastes of the community around them, and our hope is that they will grow and evolve with the Statesboro community and will provide a way for anyone to be able to pull a book to read, even if they cannot afford one elsewhere,” Shaffer said.

They hope that the nooks will be self-sustaining and will provide great literature to anyone who seeks it. If the first locations prove to be successful, they hope to expand further into the community and surrounding communities.

“I’m just happy to be able to contribute a small bit to the literary culture of Statesboro and leave a legacy of promoting the love of learning and reading.” Shaffer said.

The designated “Boro Book Nook Donation Boxes” are located at Zach Henderson Library, the Marvin Pittman administration building, the Russell Union in the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement, the IT building, the College of Education building and the Eidson Honors House near Hanner Field House. The off campus location is at Statesboro Regional Library.

The drive is running through October 15 and books can be dropped off at any of the Book Nook locations listed below.