FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- Little Free Libraries have sprung up around Aurora as part of a school district initiative to make literature more accessible and promote reading in the community.
A kickoff ceremony was scheduled to take place Oct. 27 at the Kiwanis-Moore Playground beside Fire Station 1, but was postponed. Aurora children's author Eric VanRaepenbusch had been scheduled to present a reading. Community members will instead have an opportunity to learn about the program in the spring.
Little Free Libraries are described as "a take a book, return a book" gathering place where neighbors share favorite literature and stories. It is a box full of books, which anyone may visit to pick up a book or two and bring back another book to share.
Five boxes are located around the city at Sunny Lake Park on East Mennonite Road, VanRaepenbusch's home at 129 Greenbriar Drive, Kiwanis-Moore Playground on West Pioneer Trail, Craddock School's playground near the fence and New Life Assembly of God Church on Orchard Avenue.
The initiative was made possible by many individuals and organizations, including a $19,000 third-grade reading grant from the Ohio Department of Education, which was used to purchase books. No school district funds were used.
Local developer Manny Barenholtz donated the Little Free Library structures, which would have cost $250 to $300 each to make.
Craddock School reading interventionist Jodi Roscoe helped with all aspects of the project, including decals, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum/Instruction Pat Ciccantelli spearheaded the implementation of the program.
Eric and Lisa VanRaepenbusch allowed their property to be used for a location, Aurora teachers painted the boxes, school district maintenance personnel put them up and the Rev. Josh Willaford of New Life Assembly approved usage of church property for a station.