Children’s Lending Library
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Children’s Lending Library

Co-chair at the Children's Lending Library Valerie Perkins shares her experience.

Fri 24 Feb 2023 5:35 PM

One day while volunteering at the Children’s Lending Library, a self-assured little girl strode up to the librarian’s desk and said, “I’m looking for a sad book about dogs”. I replied, “Have you read Sounder?” “Yes.” “Old Yeller?” “Yes.” “Well, let’s go look.’ I was surprised to find the well-worn copy of Where the Red Fern Grows. Most little readers have a genre that they prefer—mysteries, fantasies, biographies, even cookbooks—but “sad books about dogs” was so specific. Impressive.

Children's lending library
Children’s Lending Library at St. James Church

I tell you this story not so much to introduce you to the young reader, but to introduce you to the place. CLL is a small but abundant library with books in English for everyone from toddlers to Young Adults. We have older books like Goodnight Moon and A Wrinkle in Time as well as contemporary books like the His Dark Materials trilogy and Smile

C.L.L. started as an English language playgroup in 1973 where books were donated and a place to house a library was generously offered by St. James Church. A group of volunteers began to register each book and organize parties to sustain the expenses. We were expats who wanted their children to have a place to maintain their English and, ever since, Italians amongst others have wanted their children to be exposed to a language that is ever more useful. 

Recently, a young mother who grew up borrowing from our library selected a book from our shelves for her two-year-old and saw on the card that her mother had taken out the same book for her as a little girl. Thankful for this place that provided a nurturing literary diet, the young mother became a volunteer. 

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, we struggle to stay open. We are sorrowfully lacking in volunteers and members. I write this both to celebrate the 50-year milestone but also as a plea that you’ll help keep us afloat. Come and check out some books, attend a read-aloud and/or man the desk. Instead of buying, selling and downloading, let’s loan and borrow if, for nothing else, the love of libraries.

Located in via Bernardo Rucellai 9, we are open on Thursdays from 4.30 to 6.30 pm and Sundays from 10.30am to 12:30pm, plus the first Saturday of every month from 10am-12 noon. To get involved, email and see our Facebook page and Instagram profile

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