Unbound is free for the public to attend, but we do ask that guests bring a book with them to donate - that’s why we have “book bins” outside every venue at Stephens College. After the festival is over, we distribute those donated books to members of our community. We’ve been assisted in this task by various local nonprofit organizations in the past; this year our friends at the Columbia Housing Authority stepped in to help.
And how. Rather than simply find eager readers to give the books to, CHA went the extra mile. Actually, several extra miles.
This is a photo of one of FOUR “little libraries” that Job Point Youth Build constructed for CHA. Supplies for the libraries were donated in part by Job Point Youth Build and were supplemented by funds from the CHA Resident Services Department. Youth Build participants perform a service project in the community every other Friday, and the libraries were selected as a project that they worked on over several weeks. We think they look fantastic. (Also, the Moving Ahead Program, which is a free, afterschool program for low-income families, has agreed to have participating children paint and decorate the posts of the libraries with themes related to books they enjoy.)
These libraries have been placed in four separate CHA locations*, and each is stocked with books that CHA received from our Unbound Guests last April. Anyone can take a book to read whenever they’re passing - the idea being that whenever you take a book, you bring one you’ve already read as a replacement. And so these little libraries will be perennially replenishing their stocks with new books, and people get to read new books - all for free.
We probably don’t need to tell you how wonderful this is. One of Unbound’s missions is to spread a love of reading throughout all ages in our community, and these bright, beautiful boxes of books will go a long way to achieving that goal - year round. We’re very grateful to Job Point Youth Build, the Moving Ahead Program, and especially the Columbia Housing Authority, for their amazing work in getting our community reading!
* Locations are: the CHA Administration office on Switzler St., the Bear Creek Family Townhomes Site at Rangeline and Elleta Blvd., the Stuart Parker Apartments site which includes Lincoln/McBaine intersection and Unity/Oak intersection.