In keeping with Gannon’s mission of service, volunteerism, and civic engagement, the University is introducing Little Free Libraries to northwestern Pennsylvania. Each Little Free Library is designed to hold at least two dozen books. The books for Gannon’s Little Free Libraries generously have been donated by the University’s Nash Library.

Little Free Libraries resemble oversized birdhouses and are a type of community “book exchange.” Passersby or anyone can take a book, read it, and return it at their convenience. There is no charge to borrow books, and anyone may contribute books on their own.

And now to celebrate the installation of the libraries, Gannon’s Erie-GAINS (Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability) initiative is helping neighborhood residents get acquainted with the Libraries at a series of picnics.

The  picnics, which are funded by a grant from the Erie Community Foundation, will be held on September 15 at 2 p.m. at The Sisters’ House, 622 Reed Street, and on Wednesday, Sept 18 at 4:30 p.m. at Bayview Park on W. Secondnd St. between Walnut St. and Cherry St.  At the picnics, neighborhood families are invited to learn about this project, get a book, enjoy some food and listen to a special guest “mystery reader.”

Gannon’s Little Free Libraries have been designed and constructed by the students in the first-year seminar of Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D., associate professor, mechanical engineering, in keeping with Gannon’s mission of service, volunteerism, and civic engagement.

The Little Free Library movement originated in Wisconsin in 2009 as an outgrowth of a nonprofit organization, Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility. The organization’s mission is to create more than 2,510 Little Free Libraries – more libraries than Andrew Carnegie endowed – around the world.

The majority of the sites are within Gannon’s Erie-GAINS neighborhood. The Erie-GAINS program represents a comprehensive effort by Gannon University to stimulate positive change and promote the viability and sustainability of downtown Erie and neighborhoods surrounding the campus.