Two volunteers, including a former resident at a property owned by Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC), have started a Little Free Library for residents of Five Points, with a focus on children.
Marie Illingworth, who lived near the Five Points area while a young child, and Ngina Blair, a former resident of what was then called Walter P. Taylor Homes, officially opened the library with a ribbon cutting on Aug. 6 at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley Five Points Club.
“We want to see positive activities for children in the community and having a place for kids to get books is one of those,” said Blair, who became active in the neighborhood’s resident association when she lived in the affordable housing community. “A Little Free Library to select books of interest is a perfect way to introduce more people to the joy of reading.”
Blair remains active in the community and met Illingworth through shared volunteer activities, including the start of a community garden in Five Points. The two women partnered to open the free library, which will offer books for children and adults.
“Books are a doorway to the world,” Illingworth said. “I’m giving back the things I know helped me as a young person, and books were always front and center of that. They were a survival tool and doorway to a whole world I could never have dreamed of without them.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley Five Points Club serves the East Knoxville community.
“We want to especially thank Marie and Ngina for taking the initiative to open a Little Free Library,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “Both women realize the need for a neighborhood to come together and approached KCDC about an on-site library. I’m hopeful that greater access to books will provide one more resource to help children build early literacy skills that are so important to their future academic success.”
For more information about the Five Points Little Free Library or to donate books, visit https://www.actsofcolor.com.
In addition to Five Points, KCDC properties with Little Libraries include Western Heights and Lonsdale Homes. KCDC is seeking individual, corporate or organization donors to add Little Libraries at Autumn Landing, Montgomery Village, Nature’s Cove, North Ridge Crossing and The Vista. Several KCDC properties focused on the elderly and disabled, Cagle Terrace and Northgate Terrace, maintain indoor libraries and are in need of donations and assistance in maintaining those larger collections.