Grace Chalon at LFL.jpg
Grace Chalon restocks the Little Free Library on the Denton campus.

Staff efforts promote love of reading

Academia and reading go hand in hand, but don’t you sometimes want to just curl up with a good book? Some on Texas Woman’s campuses have found ways to share their love of reading with others.

The TWU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi sponsors and maintains the Little Free Library located outside the Lowry Woods community building. The chapter built the library after winning a national book drive contest in 2014. Students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to “take a book, leave a book.”

Grace Chalon, manager of reporting and analysis in the Office of Institutional Research and Data Management, is the “keeper” of the small structure, making sure it’s kept clean and well-stocked. She collects books in her office and tries to check on the Little Free Library at least once per week. The bottom shelf is reserved for young readers, and fiction, nonfiction and poetry reside on the top shelf. If a book sits on the shelf too long, Chalon donates it and replaces it with another book.

“I volunteer (to maintain the library) every year,” she said. “I love to read and want to encourage other people to read.”

The Dallas campus has a similar concept in its library lounge area. Former circulation clerk Dianne Smith designed the structure and built it with health sciences librarian John Humphrey. The design is a TARDIS from the popular sci-fi show, “Dr. Who.”

The box is maintained by book donations from faculty, staff and students.

“We received two rather large boxes of book donations for it and are down to one now, so it is being used,” Humphrey said.

A similar idea for the Houston campus was discussed years ago but wasn’t put into place due to space limitations and other constraints, according to Iris Du, outreach and engagement specialist for IT Solutions. However, Phi Kappa Phi has done book drives in the past for donations to local hospitals, she said. Deborah Unruh, assistant director of Student Life in Houston, said the honor society requested that a “book box” be placed in her office, with donations going to a hospital’s lobby area.

John Humphrey and former TWU Dallas library employee Dianne Smith
pose with the "book box" they built that provides free books for patrons
to read. (Photo courtesy of John Humphrey)