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Sunrise Rotary gives gift of literacy
Little Free Libraries
Rotarian Robin Swartz, Brown Elementary Principal Wendi Cook, Turlock Sunrise Rotary Club President Jason Scott and Rotarian Eric Julien pose in front of the school's new Little Free Library with $400 donated by the club to purchase books (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Students at Cunningham, Brown and Wakefield elementary schools now have a world of books at their fingertips thanks to a generous donation from the Turlock Sunrise Rotary Club. 

The club recently built and installed three miniature libraries at the schools as part of the Little Free Library program, creating a space which will provide knowledge and adventure to children for years to come. The concept is simple and conveyed through the program’s motto: Take a book, share a book. 

The Sunrise Rotary Club not only provided the libraries, but also donated $1,300 in total to the three schools so that they can purchase books through the Scholastic program. Community members are also encouraged to donate books to the little libraries if they have extras on hand, and students can either return the books when they’re done reading them or keep them for themselves. 

Little Free Libraries 2
The Little Free Library at Brown Elementary is one of three installed by the Turlock Sunrise Rotary Club; Wakefield and Cunningham elementary schools were part of the club's literacy project as well (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

“It was my goal this year to create a lasting literacy project for our community,” Sunrise Rotary Club President Jason Scott said, noting that the project was born when he and fellow Rotarian Robin Swartz had a discussion around Christmas time. “Robin casually mentioned the Little Free Library program, and that was the spark that ignited this project.”

There are more than 100,000 Little Free Libraries across the globe and over 15 in Turlock already, though the Cunningham and Wakefield libraries are the first on the city’s west side. The three new Little Free Libraries were truly a team and community effort, Scott said, and utilized funds from the club’s Service Committee’s Community Project budget.

Rotarian Kirk Larson of Kirk Larson Construction donated the wood for the project, assembled and installed the libraries, and Sergio Sousa of Turlock Cabinet Shop cut all of the wood. David Yonan at All Star Trophy & Sign provided plaques for each library which honor founding Rotary members Duane Wickstrom (Brown), John B. Allard (Wakefield) and Dr. Ira Eugene Bailie (Cunningham). 

Scott developed the libraries’ design, painted, helped assemble the structures and procured plexiglass and plaques, while Swartz, who also works at Walnut Elementary, also helped paint and registered the libraries online while coordinating with the school sites. 

Rotarians Yvonne Olsson-Souza, Eric Julien and Al Silvera also contributed to the success of the project, Scott added, and the club hopes it will leave a lasting impact on the three schools.

“The Turlock Sunrise Rotary Board voted to provide additional funds from our foundation for upcoming years to ensure the libraries remain stocked with books for the children and the communities to utilize,” he said.

To view all of the Little Free Libraries in Turlock via an interactive map, visit