Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL), is currently in the planning and fundraising stage of a micro library project. The community outreach project will place a micro library in an area of need within the local community.
Micro Libraries are small box-like containers housing books available for loan or exchange. They offer easy access to books and are placed within individual neighborhoods and areas that may not have local libraries nearby.
Janelle Adams, vice president of Sigma Tau Delta, noted that this is the honor society’s first community outreach project. The idea was born after contemplating the disbursement of books that would be obtained through book drives. In a meeting where members considered what they could do for the community, the idea of micro libraries was one of the first topics to arise. Members had seen it on social media and found them to be successful.
“That is something interesting, that’s definitely a project that we can go for that would definitely impact the community,” said Umaymah Shahid, president of Sigma Tau Delta.
Shahid said the micro library project is in the initial planning and fund-raising stage, and Sigma Tau Delta hopes to implement it by next semester. The initial target areas for the installation of micro libraries would be the Clear Lake area, hoping to place them in areas where people who do not have access to local libraries or books could benefit from the service.
“Instead of going to the library they have this place if they don’t have access to the library,” Shahid said. “Passing by, you could be on your street and see some books; it’s just curiosity. Go open it and, hey, you never know, a kid might go around and be like this is something interesting, I would like to read it. It just takes that one book to spark that desire to read.”
The target audience for the micro libraries is children. Shahid noted how fewer and fewer children appear to be reading and hope easy availability of books might inspire children to read.
“We want to specifically impact children; we are looking at kids who don’t have literature in their homes from a young age,” Shahid said. “It affects them in their literary accomplishments in their future. So, by providing these libraries to kids they have access to books for their age that can hopefully equip them with the language, the skills, the literature needed to be successful in the future.”
Adams said the micro libraries will operate on the honor system within the community.
“We are…specifically focused on children’s advocacy and in increasing readership among children, and so for our first set of micro libraries, we are going to stock them with children’s books, children’s literature, and it’s a take one leave one system,” Adams said.
Installation of micro libraries requires financial support, working with communities and municipalities, building book boxes and acquiring the books.
Shahid said Sigma Tau Delta is still working out the details. They are looking into the construction of the book boxes and if there are people in the community with the skills to build them. Sigma Tau Delta will need to work with homeowner’s associations and communities for permission to place the book boxes.
Sigma Tau Delta is planning book drives ∂ this semester to stock the micro libraries.
“If it’s successful, having book drives, we can start putting books in our micro libraries as soon as they are built,” Shahid said.
The first book drive will be held Feb. 27 – Mar. 3, 2017. Sigma Tau Delta is requesting gently used children and youth books. Collection boxes will be placed in the Bayou Building, Student Services Building and Delta Building.
“Now it’s just a matter of raising the money to be able to build them and install them,” Adams said. Sigma Tau Delta has reached out to businesses in the community for support.
As for the longevity of the micro library project, Adams hopes that it will endure with future Sigma Tau Delta members.
“We are hoping that by the time that Umaymah and I are no longer president and vice president, this will be a larger project within Sigma Tau Delta, that the new members will be able to take on and expand in the future,” Adams said.