Mahogany Bay Village Sponsors Little Free Library




Our Story

Little Free Library

Belize is now the 89th country worldwide to participate in the Little Free Library nonprofit organization. This program provides communities with book boxes where neighborhood residents can “take a book, leave a book.” Since Little Free Library’s 2009 inception, more than 75,000 book boxes have been stationed across the globe where millions of books are exchanged annually. Belize’s Special Envoy for Women & Children, a project created by Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, First Lady of Belize, spearheaded the country’s implementation of the Little Free Library concept. Mahogany Bay Village is proud to have sponsored the construction of 9 book boxes for Little Free Library.

The first Little Free Library book exchange box in Belize.

9 Tiny Libraries

These “libraries” are simply small wooden book shelters that are placed in easily accessible areas in a community. Children, residents, even passersby can borrow and deposit books to read and share with neighbors. For the Belize program, 3 boxes were stationed across Belize City and the remaining 6 across other districts of Belize.

The libraries were built with love using local Belizean hardwoods at the Caribbean Homes & Exports factory in Belmopan, Belize’s capital city. Caribbean Homes is the sister company and exclusive builder of Mahogany Bay Resort and Beach Club in San Pedro, Belize.

The U.S. Embassy in Belize donated the very first book to the Little Free Library box at St. John’s Cathedral lawn. The book was “Arthur, It’s Only Rock and Roll” from the Canadian/American educational television series featuring the adventures of a lovable 8-year old aardvark named Arthur Read.

Why Books Matter

Mahogany Bay Resort’s General Manager, Jason Baranac, was present at the ceremony and commented on some interesting research. “Books in the home are the single biggest indicator of academic success, surpassing income, parents’ education levels, and family composition,” Jason reported.

Here are some other inspiring and eye-opening facts gathered from the Little Free Library website:

  • Academically, children growing up in homes without books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books, even when controlled for other key factors.
  • 61% of low-income families do not have any age-appropriate books for their kids at home.
  • 73% of people say that they have met more neighbors because of a Little Free Library.
  • 3 out of 4 people report that they’ve read a book they normally would not have read because of a Little Free Library.
  • 92% of people say their neighborhood feels like a friendlier place because of a Little Free Library.

Growing up Digital

Although the age of technology has greatly expanded the availability of information that can support a child’s education, the downside of this is a decrease in reading rates. And a decrease in reading inevitably has negative implications for literacy, phonetics, and spelling. Unfortunately, today’s young generation is more likely to spend time with a device than with a book. Mahogany Bay Village and the other sponsors of the Little Free Library’s implementation in Belize seek to mitigate these negative effects by increasing readership throughout Belize! It is our hope that both children and adults will directly benefit from the 9 new book stations across the small Caribbean nation.

Kim Simplis Barrow with Mahogany Bay Village directors and a local schoolboy on Little Free Library inauguration day.

“Reading boosts your imagination and creativity. It exposes you to a world of imagination. It is like a huge spider web where you keep linking more and more, the things you knew to the things you just learned. Soon, you yourself will become that great writer. Best of all, reading takes you to places you have never been and probably will never go in your lifetime. Boys and girls, a good book is a great friend. Never stop reading.”

— Christian Enriquez (pictured above), Student at James Garbutt Primary School, Belize City

Get Involved!

Are you interested in donating new or used children’s books to the Little Free Library program in Belize? Donations are welcomed and encouraged! Please send books in good condition to the address below.