Starting in October, when patients arrived on the third floor of Poynter Hall, they noticed something new. Right in the middle of the Child and Adolescent Clinic waiting room sits a Little Free Library. The wood box with a glass front door holds books for young patients to read, take home, or donate new books.
“The goal was to get some children’s books that reflected neurodiversity and developmental diversity. Children will be able to read books about transitioning to school, dealing with disabilities, going through a divorce, but also just to create something for children to look forward to when they arrive for an appointment,” said UNMC Child Psychologist Dr. Jonathon Sikorski, who wrote the proposal for the Free Little Library.
It operates under the premise of a “take a book, leave a book” free book exchange. There are currently more than 50,000 Little Free Libraries around the world.
“The goal of the project would be to provide our families, who are often low-income and from underserved populations, an opportunity to read books that positively impact and reflect the situations and struggles they are going through at the time. It is a great way to provide a simple outreach service for all divisions that can support itself well into the future,” Dr. Sikorski said. “It’s also a lot of fun.”
The Nebraska Guild donated $1,000 to build and install the library as well as fill it with books. Dr. Sikorski said book donations are welcomed, especially older books, which may no longer be in print. Donations can be dropped off on the third floor of Poynter Hall or mailed to the UNMC Department of Psychiatry, 985575 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-5575.