The Youngstown State University Poetry Center Outreach Program, Etruscan Press and the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County are planting a Little Free Library in the Fairgreen Neighborhood Garden on Youngstown’s North Side.
To celebrate the initiative, a Garden Party will be held at Fairgreen at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, featuring readings by local writers, a picnic of local food, and a performance by Brady’s Leap, a local Celtic band. The event at the corner of Fairgreen and Ohio avenues is free and open to the public.
The Little Free Library is a free-standing weatherproof container that will be stocked with books for the community to borrow from or add to in order to encourage reading and support community spirit. The Poetry Center is encouraging the Valley to share songs and stories this summer.
“As part of our Outreach Program, the YSU Poetry Center aims to bring the University community and the Youngstown community together through music and literature,” said Philip Brady, YSU professor of English. “The Little Free Library will provide that bridge by giving community members and YSU students local and national literature to share. It’s all about sharing song, story and locally grown food.”
The Poetry Center is partnering with Grow Youngstown, an organization devoted to urban agriculture, to remind citizens of the importance of eating healthy foods purchased from local farmers. Both projects inspire the people of Youngstown and YSU to get out and explore their city. Grow Youngstown connects citizens with local farmers, boosting the economy and promoting the city’s overall health. The Poetry Center hopes to use the Little Free Library to add to the vibrancy of Youngstown’s Agri/Cultural community.
Elsa Higby, Grow Youngstown’s founder and director, said: “Sharing books in a public forum such as the Little Free Library is a great way to get to know your community. We’re hoping that the free library installed at Fairgreen will be a way for children and adults to interact, each putting in a favorite book of their own and taking out someone else’s favorite. We’re looking forward to seeing who from the community shows up with a special book for the library.”
The Public Library will also bring a pop-up library and hand out library cards. The Little Free Library will feature information about the Public Library, as well as library books, books by local writers, and Etruscan books.