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UM Student Helps Establish Little Free Library in Oxford, Ribbon Cutting Today

Photo courtesy Lafayette County Literacy Council Facebook page

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Oxford’s new Little Free Library is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Avent Park.

The effort to create the library was launched by University of Mississippi graduate 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, who said she hopes the library becomes a favorite for families in the community, 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.

“It was my mother who 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’s mission is to promote literacy and a love of reading, and to build a sense of community.

Here is how the Little Free Library works: The 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 possible.

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

Story courtesy UM Communications

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