Little Free Library for kids at UT Arboretum

Melanie StatenAnderson, Our Town Kids

The University of Tennessee Arboretum Society announces the opening of a Little Free Library located on the kiosk by the Visitors Center at the UT Arboretum, 901 S. Illinois Ave. in Oak Ridge.

The box will be stocked with books suitable for children, many of them with a nature theme. In order to keep the LFL stocked, parents are encouraged to have their children bring a book to leave for every book that is taken, if you are able. Both gently used paperback and hardback books are welcome.

UTAS also encourages parents to bring their own hand sanitizer to use both before and after selecting a book. The Visitors Center is currently closed due to COVID-19, so restrooms are not available for children to wash their hands.

If space permits, there will be a file of nature-related publications for adults to choose from, such as Science News, The Tennessee Conservationist and Land, Life & Science, a publication of the UT Institute of Agriculture.

If any family has a large number of children’s books to donate, please contact Janet Bigelow at 865-675-3822 or for information about book drop off. Adult books that can be traded into McKay’s for credit to purchase more children’s book are also welcome.

One further perk is that the LFL is located at the start of our Nature Book Trail currently featuring the book Butterflies: Exploring the Life Cycle by Dr. Shirley Raines and Curt Hart. The trail is an easy half-mile loop with beautiful signs featuring the pages of this engaging book.

In preparation for our annual Butterfly Festival, this is excellent educational reading material for children. The Festival, Sept. 19, is virtual this year and will include crafts, educational sessions and a butterfly release.

The Little Free library is cosponsored by the UT Forest Resources and Education Center.

Learn more about the Arboretum Society here. For more information on the program, contact

Melanie Staten is a public relations consultant with her husband, Vince.

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