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Muller Center Fellow Sarah Johnson Unveils “Little Free Library”

March 1, 2018

The Muller Center at Newberry College recently unveiled the first of three Little Free Libraries organized by Research Fellow Sarah Johnson as part of her youth literacy research project.


Johnson, a junior elementary and early childhood education major at Newberry College, was selected for the 2017-2018 class of Muller Center Research Fellows. The Fellows program was created to support students in their independent study of a question, issue or project related to one or more of the values of the Muller Center: ethics, vocation, and civic engagement.


Projects can be conducted in any discipline on campus and students may work with a faculty mentor of their choice. Fellows incorporate research, civic engagement, ethics and vocation with the goal of making a difference in the lives of others while also impacting their own life.


Muller Center Research Fellows receive a stipend of $1,500, learn to use research tools, build community connections and have opportunities to collaborate with students at other institutions who are engaged in similar research.


With the focus of her fellowship being on early childhood literacy, Johnson set out to make a difference in the community of Newberry, S.C., by creating several Little Free Libraries, an idea that has gained popularity throughout the United States.


A Little Free Library is a neighborhood book exchange. It typically features a small shelf or box, similar to a newspaper dispenser, stocked with a small supply of books. Once someone is done reading the book, they’re urged to bring it back for others to check out. Individuals also are encouraged to donate books and rotate them through the Little Libraries.


Johnson’s Little Free Library project focuses on children’s books with the goal of making a difference in the lives of rural and low-income children by creating additional access points for children to age-appropriate books. She worked with a variety of community partners, including Boundary, Gallman and Newberry elementary schools, to build, paint and stock the three Little Free Libraries.


Johnson unveiled her first Little Free Library that will be placed throughout the City of Newberry on Feb. 8, outside the Newberry College Center for Teacher Education located on Speers Street. The locations for two additional Little Free Libraries will be dedicated later this month. The Newberry Arms Community ribbon cutting is slated for Monday, March 19 at 4 p.m. This site is co-sponsored with the Rotary Club. The third Free Little Library will be dedicated at Grant Homes Community on Wednesday, March 14 at 4:30 p.m.  


To learn more about the Muller Center or to donate new or gently used children’s and young adult books to the Little Free Library project, contact Muller Center director Dr. Krista E. Hughes at or 803.321.5215.