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Unveiling of Little Free Library and Read Aloud Celebration in Nate Levy Park

Unveiling of Little Free Library and Read Aloud Celebration
 in Nate Levy Park
Erie’s 10th Little Free Library to be installed in Nate Levy Park
Erie’s 10th Little Free Library will be unveiled on Friday, July 18th in Nate Levy Park (between East 2nd and 3rd, Holland and German streets) in Erie’s historic East Bayfront neighborhood. The unveiling of this micro lending library will begin at 7:15pm with introductory remarks from the Bayfront East Side Taskforce (BEST) and United Way of Erie County and will end with local children filling the Little Free Library with books, and a complimentary picnic dinner will follow. After the dinner and unveiling at 7:30 p.m., United Way will offer training for the Reading Buddies program, which promotes the importance of literacy in the home and reading aloud to children from birth. Childcare will be provided for any parent/caregiver who would like to attend this free training. The evening will wrap up with a summer movie night in the park for all ages!
Schedule for the night:
  • 7:15 p.m.: Unveiling and filling of the Little Free Library with a complimentary dinner
  • 7:30 p.m.: United Way’s Reading Buddies training event for parents/caregivers (childcare is provided)
  • 8:30 p.m. or nightfall: Bayfront East Side Taskforce summer family movie in the park
The Little Free Library in Nate Levy Park, which was built by Gannon University’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, was sponsored by a grant from the PNC Foundation. With the support of BEST, Lila Sweeney, a retired librarian who lives across the street from Nate Levy Park, will serve as the library’s caretaker. Erika Ramalho, Gannon’s director of community and government relations, stated, “Service and social responsibility is part of Gannon’s mission and our student’s live that mission through their academics and their co-curricular activities.  Building the libraries is showcasing the reciprocity of our community engagement efforts. The students take pride in their work and in their community.”
Little Free Libraries resemble oversized birdhouses and are a type of community book exchange. Passersby or anyone can take a book, read it, and return it at their convenience. There is no charge to borrow books, and anyone may contribute books on their own. The Little Free Library movement was founded by a Wisconsin sustainability organization in 2009 and aims to inspire the placement of Little Free Libraries worldwide. Current library locations for the Erie community include Poetry Park, Dobbin’s landing; Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park (LEAF);  St. Benedict Education Center, 330 E. Tenth Street, the YMCA of Greater Erie Downtown Branch, 31 W. 10th Street; Bayview Park, W. 2nd & Cherry streets; the Boys and Girls Club of Erie, 1515 E Lake Road; the Erie Intermodal Transportation Center, 208 E. Bayfront Parkway and Villa Maria Apartments, 815 Plum Street.
About Reading Buddies:
In May 2013, United Way of Erie County introduced the Imagination Library for all Erie County children from birth to age five in partnership with the Erie Community Foundation. To maximize the impact of the Imagination Library, United Way created the "Reading Buddies" training program that provides parents and caregivers with tips and techniques for engaging their children with the free books which, in turn, instills a love of reading in the child.  Developed by local reading specialists, the Reading Buddies program reinforces the importance of early childhood literacy among parents and caregivers because learning to read is essential to success in school and a self-sufficient life as adults.