It's been said a library opens up a world of adventure.
With that in mind, a Grove teen has placed a new "map" on West Third Street, designed to open up new worlds for children.
On Saturday, April 20, Sierra Campbell officially opened "Sierra's Little Free Library.
"I love that I can be taken to a whole different time and place while turning the pages [of a book]," Campbell said. "When I was little, I had a passion for reading - I did it all of the time.
"I always wanted my own library like Belle in Beauty in the Beast."
As a young reader, Campbell said she fell in love with a variety of books including the Magic Tree House, Hank the Cowdog and Junie B. Jones.
"My favorite time of the day was nap time and bedtime because I knew I would get to pick out a book for my mom to read to me, which normally turned into four or five books," Campbell said. "As time went on, my love for reading grew.
"It was a rare sight to see me without a book in my hand. The summer of my second grade year, I checked out more than 250 books from the local library and read each one of them."
Campbell said she hopes children will find a book at the little library which will become a childhood favorite. Books in the little library are geared for children infant through 12-years of age.
Campbell said she decided to start the initiative after seeing similar projects "pop up" in rural communities.
"I wanted to share some of my favorite childhood books with local children, and encourage them to read," Campbell said. "I really hope that Sierra's Little Free Library takes local children on many adventures."
Campbell believes the encouragement her parents, and other family members, gave her as she explored reading has helped mold her into who she is now.
She also credits three elementary teachers for encouraging her love of reading - Courtney Murphy, Linda Tunnell and Shandy Bowers.
During Saturday's ribbon cutting, Campbell was joined by several members of her family, as well as friends.
Gayle DuBois said she was "super excited" to see the little library and hopes it encourages younger students to read.
"Many years ago, Linda Fracek and I found website where you could log in a book, and leave it in a random location to see who might pick it up and read it," DuBois said. "Those books you loved, but knew you wouldn't read again."
Kyralee Wehrle, 7, was one of the children who took part in the ribbon cutting.
A first grader in Grove, Wehrle said she loves to read because she "gets to learn new words."
"I get to learn big words too," Wehrle said with a grin.
The youngster said her favorite book to-date is the Lion King, because "Simba gets to be king."
She's also reading a chapter book at school about lions.
"People need to use the library so they know how to read when they are grownups," Wehrle said.
Sylvia Able, a new resident of Grove, was at the library's opening. She said her previous subdivision's park, in Kansas City, hosted a similar free library.
Able said she often used the little library and was thrilled to see one in Grove.
Her grandson, Cullin Flanagan, 8, said he found one of his favorite childhood books "Horrible Harry and the Drop of Doom" at the little library while visiting his grandmother in Kansas City.
Flanagan and his younger brother, Eamon, 2, spent time reading a book on the bench located next to the little library after the ribbon cutting.
How It Works
Located outside of DarLynn Embroidery, the library - and accompanied bench - is designed to give children a new place to find a favorite book.
The idea is simple people can borrow a book - with no strings attached - for an undetermined amount of time. Readers are not only encouraged to return the book - to exchange for another - they are asked to add to the collection.
Lorrie McPhereson, owner of DarLynn Embroidery, has agreed to help fill the box. She will keep donations in her store, and refill the box as needed.
Each book will be inked with a stamp reading "Sierra's Little Free Library - Read It, Love It, Return It."
The effort is the newest initiative of the Be The Change Grove non-profit run by Campbell's mother, Mandy, and Nicky Bassett.
In addition to the little library and other ventures, volunteers with the non-profit have placed Blessing Boxes for non-perishable food items in various locations throughout the region.