The project got its start two years via the Fairfield Community Connection Group with a distribution box at the Fairfield Food Pantry at 1085 Magie Ave., according to Howard Dirksen, who helped found the group.
“What it’s all about is literacy,” Dirksen said. “The Community Connection group was there to … research and develop ideas to help and improve the community. Out of the Community Connection Group came the Fairfield Community Foundation, the Fairfield Food Pantry and many other programs that were thought needed in the community.”
Little Free Library projects got their start in 2009 in Hudson, Wisc., and has since grown to 25,000 different locations worldwide, according to the Little Free Library website.
The locations of Little Free Libraries many times solve the problem of not having a library card or having transportation to a local library.
The boxes, which were installed earlier this month, are unlocked and books are available any time of day or night and contain a variety of books for children of different ages plus magazines and novels for adults.
Screeners review submitted items to ensure they are appropriate, Dirksen said.
The Fairfield South Elementary location is monitored by the South PTC while the YMCA location is monitored by the School Age Childcare Programs.
While many Little Free Library locations utilize former newspaper boxes, the two new locations sport custom-made boxes created by Fairfield schools and Butler Tech students T.J. Icenogle, Isaac Gruver and Joseph Fishbough under the supervision of teacher Chad Reed.
“That was a true blessing, a real God-send thing that came about because we were having trouble getting parents and people to build these things,” Howard Dirksen said. “We talked to them about it, but some of the parents don’t have (wood)shops or work with wood.”
Judy Dirksen said it’s “very gratifying” to know she, her husband and the Fairfield Community Connection Group are helping to encourage literacy efforts in Fairfield.
“I worked as an education assistant in Fairfield City Schools and I worked with children who were definitely in a situation where reading was so, so vital and so important,” she said. “Helping them with that was very important to me and to see something like this that gives a lot of children, and adults, too, an opportunity to enjoy the joy of reading.”