Jimmy Libraries blog

We Went Little To Help Big

Sometimes a little goes a long way.

Sure, it may sound cliché, but it’s absolutely the case. We’ve proven it again, this time with a community partnership between National Life and our independent producer group GLP & Associates in Michigan.

GLP discovered that the Detroit Public Community Schools and a charitable foundation supporting the district had set a goal of establishing a Little Free Library in front of each of the 97 schools in the district. That would make it the first district in the country that had a Little Library at every school.

And so, National Life and GLP combined forces to put the district over the top by offering support for the creation of 40 of them.

neinas-little-library-093016I know, you’re saying, “You did what?” Here’s what. We helped to create these amazing tiny libraries that are contained in small structures that are placed in front of a school.

“Literacy has been one of our main areas of focus, and when we saw little libraries popping up around Detroit, we saw the potential to put this focus into action and involve the Detroit community in ushering in a new era for our city’s schools,” said Alycia Meriweather, Detroit’s interim superintendent. “This sponsorship supports our mission of ensuring that every student has access to quality literature.”

The idea is that for kids in a lot of urban neighborhoods, especially ones such as Detroit that can have very high rates of poverty, there are simply no books available to read if the school isn’t open.

But now, outside every school in Detroit, that will no longer be the case. Beautifully constructed and decorated wooden cases have been or are being installed. If a child or another member of the community wants to get lost in a good story, all they’ll need to do is go grab a book.

We thought it was a really cool idea when GLP’s Jimmy Pollack approached us with it and suggested we team up.

National Life’s Jay Dunlap, who supports our relationship with GLP, jumped on the idea and was grateful to help make the goal a reality for Detroit.

“I was very fortunate to be part of something bigger than myself,” he said.  “Planting little libraries in the Detroit area will help put books in the hands of children. There are many opportunities of Doing Good in the communities around us. You just have to open your eyes to what’s going on around you and then choose to make a difference.”

We’ve been overwhelmed by how appreciative everyone has been for the support.

“To be honest, we are amazed not just that so many dedicated people pulled together and made this happen, but that we didn’t even get close to the 97-day deadline,” the Detroit Little Libraries organization said in its “Wall of Thanks.” “In one fell swoop, National Life came in and sponsored ALL remaining libraries. The news made us tear up! Thank you National Life.”

Todd Bol, the founder of the Little Free Library movement, told Detroit schools that he’s hopeful their city won’t be the last with this kind of initiative. “We hope Detroit will become a national model,” Bol said.

We do, too.