Around Town | August 5, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 5, 2022

Around Town

BUILD IT, AND THEY WILL COME ... During the early part of the pandemic, Palo Alto fifth grader Arjun Agarwal set up a Free Little Library in the front yard of his home as a way to encourage neighbors and friends to stay engaged. He is now working to expand the free book exchange program into additional surrounding neighborhoods. Through donations from the local community and Stratford School, where he is a student, Arjun has raised $390 to fund his next library in an East Palo Alto neighborhood this summer. The fifth grader built his first bookcase by hand and stocked it with a variety of books, including editions of his self-written and illustrated children's book "Where is the Little Dinosaur?" "I am an avid reader and used to visit the Palo Alto Children's Library very often," Arjun said. "I wished I could exchange some books with the kids in my neighborhood without interacting with them (during the pandemic shutdown). Since there was no library in my neighborhood, I decided to build one." His library quickly proved to be a popular resource, with children — and books — frequently coming and going into his front yard, he said. After seeing the impact of his first library, he decided that he wanted to build more. He selected a neighborhood in East Palo Alto for his second location because he wants to include areas where books are not as easily accessible. "It is important for kids to be able to read and enjoy a variety of books and appreciate the concept of sharing," Arjun said. "I want to make many more libraries for the neighborhoods so kids find it fun and feel good about their communities." Arjun's project is part of the nonprofit Little Free Library program, which helps facilitate the placement of libraries nationwide. The organization's network of libraries includes about 150,000 locations nationwide.

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