"Free Little Library" pops up in base neighborhoods

  • Published
  • By Katherine Franco
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

To better serve the base community, the SparkED Innovation Team recently added more than 100 books donated to base neighborhoods at Edwards Air Force Base California.

The Little Free Library program is a “take a book, leave a book” free book exchange. Anyone is welcome to take, exchange or leave a book for others to read at four different locations in the housing area. The project initially started as a Kids’ Innovation Challenge idea, however the COVID-19 pandemic halted those plans.

“In March of 2020, the base went to Health Protection Condition- Charlie, the SparkED Innovation Team wanted to finish out the project for the kids and to boost morale on base,” said Britney Reed, 412th Test Wing Plans and Operations, Continuous Process Improvement Manager.

Reed's first step was to call the Antelope Valley Press, a local newspaper publisher, and asked for a donation of newspaper stands for Edwards. After she called the AV Press, she posted request for volunteers on the Spouses of Edwards AFB Facebook page.

“Tracy Wilbur and I delivered them to the POCs that volunteered. The neighborhoods that received them were the neighborhoods that had spouses that spoke up for them,” Reed said.

Stuart Campbell, Corvias operations director, helped them modify the stand and secure the libraries' placement at the Mesquite Meadows, Juniper Ridge, Tamarisk, and Acacia Hills neighborhoods.

“My family and I were the builders of the Mesquite Meadows Library. A lot of the work came from my husband, Tech. Sgt. Aaron L. Endsley, and children. We were able to take our little library and make it a library for adults and children,” said Jacquline M. Endsley, 912th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Administrative Assistant.

Reed explained the importance of the libraries due to busy schedules, and limited library access because of COVID-19 protocols.

“The school library had minimal hours; the kids could only go for certain hours per week,” Reed said. “The idea of having community-sponsored libraries that gave more access to reading became the only access for some families when school and library completely shut down for some time.”

Reed said the message is about teaching kids to be part of the community by solving problems. The lesson is not limited to kids. Part of the more significant innovation movement is promoting a mindset and teaching people to design a different future.