The Issue: Social Isolation Among Seniors
Loneliness can be deadly for seniors, according to a recent study by the Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences. Other researchers have found that social isolation appears to exacerbate an array of both psychological and physical ailments, including dementia and heart disease. All the indicators suggest that older people who are connected to a community of some sort not only lead better lives but also longer ones.
The Campaign: Building Little Libraries for Senior Stewards
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used to create a community of reading across generational lines. For every $500 raised, Little Free Library can cover the cost of constructing a small library near a steward who is part of the organization's multigenerational programming.
The idea is to build bonds between isolated older adults and young people by encouraging a neighborhood book exchange and regular social visits from community members. In-kind donations of books from publishers and other nonprofits will help stock the libraries.
Little Free Library
They stand in front yards, parks, health centers, and bus stops: small wooden boxes, each containing a stack of free books for neighbors to borrow. Todd Bol planted the first Free Little Library—painted to look like a miniature schoolhouse—outside his home in Hudson, Wisconsin. From there, the idea spread like wildfire. Today, stewards look after more than 6,000 libraries all across the country and around the globe, in spots as far-flung as Colombia and Pakistan.
Once the library is installed, it can become a locus of community-building and engagement as neighbors gather to exchange books and talk about what they've read. Some stewards say that within days of putting up their Little Free Libraries, they met more neighbors than they'd met in all their previous years of living in the community. In addition to the social aspect, the project encourages literacy by providing around-the-clock access to books.