On Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 4:00pm, following Story Time in the Gardens, The Aiken Council of the International Reading Association and the City of Aiken Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening of the Little Free Library in Hopelands Gardens. You may wonder, what is a Little Free Library? First, Little Free Library is the name of a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. The organization helps people around the world start and maintain free “take a book, return a book” book exchanges called Little Free Libraries. The Libraries are built to withstand weather of all kinds and hold 20-100 books. Originally designed to look like a one-room school or a “house of books,” the Libraries rapidly took on a wide variety of sizes, shapes, themes and other attributes. The Library in Hopelands will be painted to match the Dollhouse and will be the third registered Little Free Library in Aiken, South Carolina. As of 2017, there are over 50,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 70 countries.

Stacia Nuessle, President of ACIRA, “The Aiken Council of the International Reading Association’s mission is to promote literacy through the improvement of reading instruction, to encourage reading as a lifetime tool for learning, and to foster the formation of the reading habit. The ACIRA Little Free Library initiative will positively impact children and adults in our community by providing books to promote literacy and a love of reading at all age levels. The mission of the Little Free Library, according to their website, is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations. The members of ACIRA strongly feel that providing places for children and adults to “take a book, return a book” will encourage a lifelong love of reading in our community and allow us to reach out beyond our schools to share our love of literacy with others. ACIRA is excited to install a Little Free Library for the enjoyment of the Aiken community and look forward to its grand opening celebration.”

ACIRA will stock the library with books and maintain it so that all visitors to Hopelands Gardens can enjoy a book in Hopelands or take it home to read and later return. The Little Free Library will be located just behind the Dollhouse, a few steps away from the location of Story Time in the Gardens. The Aiken Garden Club Council is excited to have the Little Free Library near the Dollhouse and encourages children to sit on the Dollhouse patio and enjoy their books.

Hopelands Gardens is located at 135 Dupree Place Aiken, SC 29801. For more information, please call 803-642-7650.