Retired Reading Specialist Lights Up Literacy with ‘Little Free Library’

Retired Reading Specialist Lights Up Literacy with 'Little Free Library'

Joann Boyer stands next to her Little Free Library. {photo courtesy}

By: Jen Russon

The idea of public book exchanges took root in the form of Little Free Libraries over a decade ago, with over 90,000 of the see-through cabinets, good reads inside, dotting the country.

Joann Boyer, a retired reading specialist, opened her first Little Free Library a few years ago in front of her home at 11379 NW 20th Drive, eventually replacing it with the novelty of a large bookshelf shaped like a lighthouse. It isn’t see-through, but opening the latch door reveals hundreds of books, from children’s stories to potboilers.

“I worked for Broward County Public Schools for 31 years, and in that time amassed many books. Rather than just keeping them or donating to Goodwill, I decided to try this,” said Joann.

She and her husband, Robert, got the word out in their Cypress Run community about the vast array of books they had to offer by distributing flyers.

It wasn’t long before the Boyers started getting special requests and subsequent friendships because of Little Free Library.

Joann said a shared love of books brought her closer to Frankie, a widow living down the street. Frankie not only crochets but is a voracious consumer of dark, psychological thrillers.

Frankie asked to see American writer Harlan Coben in the lighthouse, and although Joann receives boxes of donated books and swaps for the ones taken, there weren’t any novels by Coben in her collection.

So, Joann went to Amazon and ordered his entire literary canon.

She said it was her pleasure to do so, even if the cost was quite a bit more than the modest price of registering a Little Free Library, where hers is one of many recognized by the city of Coral Springs and greater Ft. Lauderdale.

“We’re not a needy community by any means, but having been a reading specialist, I know parents aren’t always able to invest in books, so it’s my pleasure to give children and adults access to great reading material.”

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