College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Psychology Student Helps Establish Little Free Library in Oxford

SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 | By STAFF REPORT

Image courtesy of WikiCommons

Photo courtesy of WikiCommons

The effort to create a library at Avent Park on 104 Park Drive in Oxford was launched by University of Mississippi student Julie Ann Brandt, who is pursuing a doctorate in psychology.

Brandt said she wanted to leave something meaningful behind when she left Oxford after eight years of calling it home.

“Oxford is a special place,” Brandt said. “A Little Free Library seemed like the perfect gift for this lovely literary community.”

The Oxford Park Commission collaborated with the L.O.U. Reads Coalition and its co-conveners, United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County and the Lafayette County Literacy Council, for the installment.

“People think of us as focused on promoting physical health, and we are,” said Jared Barkley, a staff member at the Oxford Park Commission.

“However, the Oxford Park Commission knows that raising healthy children takes not just opportunities for exercise, but also for building many other skills, including learning to read, thinking creatively and sharing with others, all of which are fostered by the Little Free Library.”

Brandt said she hopes the library becomes a favorite for families in the community. She turned the project into a family affair, recruiting her father to construct the colorful handmade wooden box that will protect the books from the elements.

“My mother taught my brother, sister and me to love libraries, but Dad taught us to work hard, play hard and listen to Mom,” she said.

The Little Free Library mission is to promote literacy and a love of reading, and to build a sense of community.

The Little Free Library will be stocked with books intended to interest children in the community. Children and parents can take any books they like. They can return and/or donate books to the Little Free Library whenever they like.

Square Books, the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library, and the L.O.U. Reads Book Drive have donated the books.

The library is next to the Born Learning Trail and playgrounds at Avent Park.

For more information about the Little Free Library movement, visit http://littlefreelibrary.org.