Building Bridges of Literacy

As summer is winding down, I hope you all have enjoyed the programs at the county library branches as much as our family has! Our household loves books and sharing our love of reading with our neighborhood. That’s why we had a friend of ours build and install a Little Free Library outside of our house to pass along our books to those that may not have as many!

As shown on a map from “Unite for Literacy,” many communities in Volusia County are located in “book deserts,” or areas where access to books is limited. Most areas have estimated percentages of 40 percent or less of homes with more than 100 books.

To combat this, Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that has a vision to see every community with access to books. They encourage people all over the county to build, create or buy book-sharing boxes and then register them on the interactive map for folks to easily find their nearest “library.” You can find the map at

Not all sharing boxes are officially registered, so you’re guaranteed to find more roaming around town than you see online! We have turned these libraries into somewhat of a scavenger hunt. Individual households, businesses, city centers and community groups have all taken part so far.

Some of our favorite places to swap books include one in Central Park in Ormond Beach (601 Division St.) and the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins in Port Orange (950 Old Sugar Mill Rd.). When ours inevitably fills up with novels, history books and mysteries, we take the extras to the Julia T. and Charles W. Cherry, Sr. Cultural and Educational Center in Midtown Daytona Beach (925 George W. Engram Blvd.). Our library and many others around the county are always in need of children’s books if you have any extras you’ve been thinking of donating!

Some sharing boxes are for items other than books. The Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens recently opened a Free Little Art Gallery (78 E. Granada Blvd.). According to their website, Annabella Olivari wanted to share her love of art with the community by installing this small gallery to display miniature art and blank canvases for others to create. What a unique way to make art more accessible!

I love that the Little Free Libraries have some many important roles in our communities. For those giving, it serves as a fun activity to track down the libraries and instills generosity by donating. For those receiving, they give access to stories, information and joy that may have previously felt out of reach. What a great way to make our big county feel a little bit more neighborly.

CASSIE GONYER lives in Daytona Beach with her husband, three daughters, two housemates, and a “doug” (dachshund-pug mix dog). She loves exploring and promoting the food, shops and events that Daytona has to offer. You can follow her local adventures on Instagram at @CassGoAroundDaytona

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