Campus News

UK Grad Student Starts 'Little Free Library' for UK Community

Carly Jessup, a May 2022 library science master’s graduate
Carly Jessup, a May 2022 library science master’s graduate

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2022) — Carly Jessup, a May 2022 library science master’s graduate in the College of Communication and Information’s School of Information Science, brought a Little Free Library to the University of Kentucky’s campus as way to provide students and families in UK Graduate and Family Housing with 24/7 access to books.

The Little Free Library, based in Hudson, Wisconsin, is a nonprofit organization that promotes book exchanges across the nation with the goal of expanding book access for all.

Jessup, a resident of UK Graduate and Family housing herself, wanted to provide students and families with a resource to improve their literacy, as well as an opportunity to connect with their neighbors and build community. Thus, she started the process of bringing a Little Free Library to campus.

“I noticed that this area was home to many international students and families. I also noticed that there are English conversation classes held here regularly, as some students, or their spouses or children, are likely still working on their English literacy,” said Jessup. “I thought that building a Little Free Library might help those working to improve their English.”

Also, recognizing that the transition from undergraduate housing to graduate and family housing can be difficult, Jessup aimed to build community for residents who are adjusting to the graduate housing lifestyle.

“People tend to have more responsibilities here, and meeting others in the community can be hard, which is amplified if there is also a language barrier,” said Jessup. “My hope is that this Little Free Library will introduce neighbors who otherwise would not have met.”

The Little Free Library is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is accessible to all. It is located on the playground between the Shawneetown and Greg Page apartments near Kroger Field.

Students and members of the UK community are welcome to take books from the Little Free Library and are encouraged to donate books to the Little Free Library in return.

Jessup was awarded this library through the Little Free Library Impact Program. Read more about the program here. For a full list of Impact Library Program recipients, including Jessup, click here

“I am excited to be giving back to the community that has been my home during my time at the University of Kentucky,” said Jessup. “The diversity of the community here is truly special, and I hope that it continues to flourish long after I graduate.”

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.