Little Free Libraries build community, literacy for readers of all ages

Education By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, July 20, 2022

          Visitors to Veterans Park or Royal Oaks Park in Miami Lakes may have noticed boxes atop wooden poles. 

     While they may look like birdhouses, they’re really places for residents – children and adults alike -- to share books with their neighbors.

     Books line the shelves of Miami Lakes’ Little Free Libraries in seven town parks. 

     The Little Free Library program promotes the idea of taking a book and leaving one its place, at no cost, and encourages reading at all levels. 

     The Minnesota-based non-profit program encourages literacy and building community through book sharing by installing the libraries in communities across the country. 

     Town of Miami Lakes Communications Manager Clarisell De Cardenas said the town partnered with the program four years ago. 

     “This was a new business item from now Vice Mayor Jeff Rodriguez,” De Cardenas said. “It was one of his initiatives when he was elected in 2018.” 

     The town’s Parks and Recreation Department coordinates the program. 

     Residents and organizations are encouraged to sponsor new Little Free Libraries. After all, the town has 100 parks, large and small. 

     Each library costs $860 for materials and installation and includes the box and post; a tribute plaque; registration, official charter sign and books to stock when it’s ready for the public. 

     Some boxes in town are empty, but they can be restocked by readers at any time. 

     Three boxes were sponsored by the GFWC Women’s Club of Hialeah.

      Boy Scout Troop 566 donated three more, and another library was established by De Cardenas and her husband, Miami Lakes Councilman Luis Collazo

     An additional, eighth box is going to be donated by the Boy Scouts, De Cardenas said. 

     Putting up her family’s library, which is in the Windmill Gate community, allows them to share books that her sons have outgrown, she said. 

     “I think reading is fundamental in a child’s development,” De Cardenas said. 

     The Little Free Libraries are just one way for residents to share books with children. 

     The town also participates in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides free, age-appropriate books to children, from birth to age 5. 

     De Cardenas’ oldest son Lucas, 7, participated in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program when he was younger. 

     She said that having those books arrive in the mail fostered a love of reading in her children. 

     If you have books to donate to a Little Free Library in one of the town parks,  you may want to put them in clear plastic bags to keep them dry during the rainy season.

      To sponsor a Free Little Library or to learn more about the program, visit 

     To enroll your children to receive free books in the mail from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, go to