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.”

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.