Fern Park mom, daughter create 'Free Little Library' to encourage reading during pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is inspiring dozens of people to give back to their communities.

A Fern Park mother and daughter got creative and used a recycled newspaper dispenser to create a library in their neighborhood to encourage people to read.

“I thought it was really important that we provide our community with almost a mini destination to come to with their kids,” said Yolonda Tyler.

Tyler said she and her daughter joined the national non-profit Little Free Library, becoming stewards of an organization that encourages people to create neighborhood libraries to encourage reading.

Tyler said her family had extra time on their hands when the pandemic hit and they were looking for a neighborhood project to keep them busy while they were self-isolating at home.

 “My family loves giving back to the community so I said this will be a great way to give back to the community,” Yolonda Tyler said. 

Daughter Amaya Tyler (left) and mom Yolonda Tyler (right) stand in front of their Free Little Library in Fern Park.

Tyler said it took about two months to revamp a newspaper dispenser donated by the Orlando Sentinel and then they filled it with books. Tyler said their Little Free Library is unique because it is dedicated to children and teenagers. The library is set-up on the Kewanee Trail near the intersection of Waverly Drive and Maid of the Midst.

"It was really cool knowing that I’m making something for people in my area that I live with and kids that I go to school with,” said Amaya Tyler.

She said since they put up their Little Free Library she has seen children stop by every day to check out books.

“It gives kids who don’t go outside as much who are home for online learning, it gives them something to go to in the neighborhood.”

Yolonda Tyler said they are taking safety precautions because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Tyler said she disinfects the books and the dispenser several times a week and there is hand sanitizer available for people who stop by.

She said since opening the library people have donated books and money so she can buy more books. “I think one of the hugest surprises,” Tyler said.

Tyler said she is grateful her family can provide an outlet for families during this pandemic,

“Definitely wanted to foster the love of reading in other people.”

People who are interested in donating books can reach out to Yolonda Tyler on Instagram at @playologist_ or by looking up their charter number 105142 on the Free Little Library website.