Little Free Library

PICTURED WITH THE NEW Little Free Library in Frogtown, Clarion County, are (from left to right): Linda Stahlman, Phyllis Howard, Penny Peters and Julie Aaron of the Psi chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International.

FORGOTTEN – Readers can now find books in places other than a public or school library, as the Psi chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International (DKG) has provided two Little Free Libraries, one in Frogtown, Clarion County and another in DuBois.

Both Little Free Libraries became operational in early November 2017.

Literacy has been an on-going theme for Psi members. Its latest campaign is to make Little Free Libraries available, a project recommendation by former DKG state president and Brockway English teacher Tracey Dusch. Dusch, an advocate for making reading materials more accessible, proposed that this honor society of women educators adopt the Little Free Libraries project across Pennsylvania. The mission is to provide resources to place book exchanges where they can be a catalyst for improving reading motivation and deepening community connectedness. As stewards of this project, Psi chapter members strongly believe in the power of reading and the joy in sharing books.

The concept is low-tech simple: Take a book and return a book. The selections appeal to all age groups. Many current bestselling authors such as Grisham, Trigiani, Moriarty and Oz are included.

A first library was constructed by Glenn Learn and installed in Frogtown in Clarion County by Psi president Linda Stahlman and her husband Paul. This location is rural in nature and designed to capture an audience that may be underserved. It is located at the intersection of Frogtown Road and Marks Lane on the Stahlman farm. Stahlman, the current president of Psi chapter, chose this site because there is ample foot and bicycle traffic there. Psi members from that area prepared this library and stocked it with a wide variety of reading materials.

The DuBois project followed. It was given a boost when George and Carol Downer of Treasure Lake offered their already-made little library to the organization. Moving the almost-400 pound structure off-site presented a challenge. Likewise, getting it installed in its designated spot on West Long Avenue, adjacent to Frank’s Pizza, was troublesome. Fortunately, Ron Cloak and his city crew provided the manpower and Lori Lewis and her husband the ideal location in that parklet.

Both of these sites are registered with the national organization in Hudson, Wis. and have chartered status. Both are represented on the world map along with the 50,000 other Little Free Libraries worldwide. They are represented in all 50 states and in 70 countries. This is not a government program or a consumer-driven business. It is just regular people who want to inspire a love of reading, build community and spark a lifelong reading habit.

For nearly 70 years the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG) has been involved in efforts to provide for local communities within its service area. That area extends from North Clarion to St. Petersburg, to Brookville, to Punxsutawney, to Reynoldsville, to DuBois, and to Ridgway. Over the years, Psi chapter has aided many local women with scholarships. Money and supplies have been donated to women’s shelters. Babies’-first-books have been given free to mothers to encourage them to read as soon as possible to newborns. Still more projects have occurred over the years, including the most recent effort to help the hurricane victims with monetary funds.

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