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(L to R) St. Francis Xavier School Maintenance Director Andy Dufresne, Principal Eric Becker, student Sophia Schifilliti, and school librarian Kathleen Finn.

Since its inception in 2009 with a book-exchange box on one man’s Wisconsin lawn, the “Little Free Library” movement has mushroomed worldwide to more than 75,000 Little Free Libraries (LFLs). St. Francis Xavier School, located at 5 St. Peter Street, Winooski, is one of the newest additions to this book-sharing initiative thanks to St. Francis Xavier School 7th grader Sophia Schifilliti, a resident of Colchester.

Nearly two years ago, an unfinished but basic box was given to SFX School with the goal that it would be transformed into an active, weather-proof LFL. But it languished in a storeroom until Sophia discovered it at school in the fall of 2018. “I really enjoyed the books I found in a Little Free Library in a friend’s neighborhood, “ Sophia explained, so she was inspired to bring one to SFX as her first Genius Hour project. For Genius Hour projects, students at St. Francis explore a topic of personal interest and present or demonstrate that learning in some way. Sophia hopes her Little Free Library will help students and community members alike find a good book.

SFX school librarian Kathleen Finn is thrilled with Sophia’s work to bring her idea to fruition. “Studies have shown that books in the home are a key component to academic success,” notes Mrs. Finn. “Whether the books in the SFX Little Free Library are shared with our own school community or residents of the broader Winooski community who happen to be walking by, it’s all good!”

Principal Eric Becker and Maintenance Director Andy Dufresne built a stand for Sophia’s Little Free Library and recently installed it near the sidewalk in front of the school building. If you can’t visit the SFX Little Free Library in person soon, go to the LFL website to find it on the LFL global map. The SFX School LFL joins two other Little Free Libraries in Winooski and these can also be found on the website map.

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