Young reader launches the little library that could

By Adam Pingatore on August 6, 2018

Little Library Best for websiteClayton’s Andrew Drynkin, an 8-year-old student at Mount Diablo Elementary, has joined the global cause for literacy by constructing a book exchange in his family’s front yard.

In a technologically inundated society, it can seem like a chore for youth to read the printed word. This increasingly prevalent truth is among the many societal issues that Little Free Library branches strive to remedy.


Book-loving “stewards” construct, stock and maintain the little libraries. Stewards purchase a charter number from the Wisconsin-based nonprofit, adding their library to an ever-growing online map and connecting them to a virtual network of other stewards.

The primary goal is to be an “organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world,” according to the Website.

The company cites a 2010 study that “children growing up in homes without books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books.” The problem can be related to financial resources and a lack of access to age-appropriate books due a community’s layout.

Each of the more than 70,000 little libraries worldwide adhere to the basic principle: “Take a Book, Return a Book.” Todd Bol, 62, founded Little Free Library in 2009 on this honor system to allow people of all ages to read to their heart’s content without worrying about costs.

Little Free Library has received widespread attention, winning an Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation, a Library of Congress Literacy Award and many other commendations.

And Andrew couldn’t be more ecstatic to do his part.

“I got the idea from a Jigsaw Jones Mystery. Their teacher was taking books from it. She was just taking them and putting random notes in them,” the young librarian commented.

Once Andrew learned of Little Free Library, his voracious curiosity couldn’t be stopped. “It was totally his idea,” said proud mother Katie.

The speed at which a Little Free Library can unite a neighborhood became apparent before Andrew’s exchange even opened its door. Support first came from the Oak Hollow 2 Maintenance Corp., which gave approval for the book nook.
As construction progressed, more local assistance poured in. Neighbor Artem Lukinov and Andrew’s father Alex were instrumental in the planning and heavy-lifting stages. Artem’s daughter Nicole helped Andrew paint the box’s exterior.

Nathan Smith of the local Smith and Bernal Roofing Co. provided free materials and labor, and local contractor Alex Smith also offered building materials and tools without charge.

At the library’s June 8 ribbon-cutting, neighbors came out to donate books, sign a guest log and enjoy a complimentary magic show from Chris Throop of Antioch.

Andrew intends to promote his library even more once school starts. “We might even have a field trip to it,” he said with glee.

The library appeals to audiences of all preferences. The top shelf currently caters to more seasoned readers, while the bottom shelf provides top choices for younger readers – from nonfiction to the lighthearted Junie B. Jones series, Andrew’s favorite.

Andrew’s Little Free Library is located on Buckeye Terrace in Clayton. Anyone is welcome to contribute to its growth or “Take a Book, Return a Book.”

For more information about Little Free Library, visit littlefreelibrary.org.

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