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Nov 18, 2016 | Paulette E. Martin

Little Free Library Builds Literacy, Community



The Little Free Library is located near the bell tower on Main Street at the St. Joseph's, Salado campus.



“It really has been a labor of love. I’m very happy the vestry has supported it,” Pam Nelson, founder of the Salado’s Little Free Library recalls. The Little Free Library opened in September 2015 at St. Joseph’s and since then, it has been increasing literacy development and inviting people to church.


The small cupboard full of donated books is located near the bell tower of the church on Main Street. The concept is simple. Books in the “library” are available to anyone who wants to stop by to pick one up. People are encouraged to donate books or exchange books when borrowing from the tiny library.


Bookmarks (in Spanish and English) inside of each of the books explain how the library works and provide information about St. Joseph’s. Bookmarks are also distributed throughout the community at the town’s public library, churches and schools to encourage everyone to use the library.


The idea blossomed in 2014 after Nelson, a book enthusiast, moved to a small ranch near Pidcoke, Texas and joined St. Joseph’s. She found she was living outside of a library district.


“In Pidcoke, we didn’t pay taxes within any of the municipalities in the areas, so we were not a part of any local libraries. We could go to the library, but we couldn’t check out any of the books,” Nelson said.


Nelson and her husband Doug researched the Little Free Library website, funded the kiosk and gathered the first books. Little Free Library initially began in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, who built a model of a one room schoolhouse and filled it with books as a tribute to his mother, a teacher who loved to read. The practice has spread throughout the United States and worldwide, with kiosks in places like India and Sri Lanka.


“The project seemed to fit with the parish mission of ‘seeking and serving Christ in all persons,’” Nelson said.


Now, St. Joseph’s Little Free Library offers a wide range of books, with two lower shelves dedicated to children and a third, to young adults and adults.


New books are added every month. The most popular books, according to Nelson, are children’s picture books, books associated with motion pictures/TV or radio series, as well as cookbooks.


“It is very important for literacy development of young people who are becoming literate in a second language, as well a for lifelong literacy development,” Nelson said.


For more information on how to establish your own Free Little Library, visit


St. Joseph’s, Salado also hosts the race 3 Kings 3 miler, a story about which can be found in the December issue of the diocesan magazine, Diolog, online soon at