Where did this idea originate?
In 2013 Rochester Public Library received grant funding from United Way of Olmsted County to begin the Neighbors Read program in the Slatterly Park. The goal of Neighbors Read is to prepare children to succeed in school by providing early literacy information and access to books in neighborhoods. Thirteen mini-libraries were installed in Slatterly Park as part of this early literacy outreach program. In 2014 five mini-libraries were installed for Neighbors Read: Eastside Pioneers. This year, the Neighbors Read program continues in Kutzky Park where RPL is currently seeking eight families with preschoolers to participate in the program. http://www.rochesterpubliclibrary.org/my-rpl/friends-of-the-library/about-us/neighborhood-libraries

The Neighbors Read program has seen great success. Mini-library users were surveyed for Neighbors Read: Slatterly Park and the results indicate:

  • 22 of 29 or 76% of repeat mini-library users reported that they read more in the last month because of access to a mini-library
  • 28 of 33 or 85% of survey respondents were repeat mini-library users
  • 21 of 28 or 75% of repeat mini-library users report visiting the mini-library once a week or more often

The Rochester Mini Library Program is building on the success of Neighbors Read and is bringing mini-libraries and access to free books to neighborhoods not reached by this grant funded program.

What is a Rochester Mini Library?
A mini library is a free standing structure containing books which is placed on a homeowner’s property in a neighborhood where anyone can pick up a book and/or bring a book to share. The mini library can also act as a gathering place for neighbors.

What does a Rochester Mini Library look like?
An example of what the mini library will look like is pictured below.  The mini libraries provided through this community impact project were decorated by their host families therefore, each look slightly different.
IMG_1238How was the program funded?
The Rochester Mini Library Program depended on the generosity of sponsors providing cash gifts and donated materials to construct the libraries.

What is the program’s connection to the Rochester Public Library?
The program was inspired by the success of Rochester Public Library’s Neighbors Read project. The Library was a partner on this program, providing consultation and sustaining the book collections into the future.

What is the program’s connection to Little Free Library®?
Little Free Library® is a national non-profit that similarly builds libraries and promotes  a love of reading and sense of communities through their program.  We are in no way connected to their business.

Whom can I contact with questions about the Rochester Mini Library Program?
If you would like more information on the Rochester Mini Library Program or mini libraries in Rochester, please visit the Rochester Public Library’s website.

Who is responsible for maintaining the mini library once it is installed in the host family’s yard?
The host family is responsible for maintenance, upkeep, and stocking of the mini library once it is installed.