Honor society literacy grant furthers ‘love of lea...

Honor society literacy grant furthers ‘love of learning’ at 3 MTSU campus sites

MTSU’s most prestigious honor society for all academic disciplines has received a grant to help it promote literacy and its dedication to the love of learning.

From its national headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi has given $1,200 to its MTSU chapter to create and maintain “Little Free Libraries.”

In partnership with the MTSU Circle of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, PKP will put the libraries at three sites on campus that serve children under the age of 5. These are the Child Development Center, the Child Care Lab and the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center.

Sandra Campbell, University Honors College executive secretary and MTSU’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter coordinator

Sandra Campbell

Susan Lyons, events coordinator, MTSU University Honors College, and Omicron Delta Kappa membership coordinator. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Susan Lyons

“We look forward to working with each of them to create and personalize their libraries, as well as provide ongoing support to keep them stocked with interesting books for children and parents,” said Sandra Campbell, MTSU’s PKP chapter coordinator and University Honors College executive secretary.

Each semester, the honor societies will stage book and donation drives. Users of the libraries are welcome to take a book and/or leave a book to keep the libraries going. The purpose is to improve access to books for both children and adults.

“ODK received a grant for $500 to purchase books on leadership for its new ODK Leadership Lending Library, and, as part of that project, we decided to include a Little Library at the ACE Learning Center on MTSU’s campus,” said Susan Lyons, ODK campus coordinator and University Honors College coordinator. “It coincided with Phi Kappa Phi’s application for a literary grant, and so the organizations joined forces.”

One-third to one-half of the children served by the Child Care Lab, which helps kindergartners improve their cognitive skills, come from low-income families, and 80 percent of the parents attend MTSU as students.

“Each library will serve as a support program for the curriculum used at our facility,” said Nancy James, director of the Child Care Lab. “By having a variety of books available, the child and the parents will have different subjects and words to talk about each day.”

Forty-two percent of the children served by the Child Development Center are minorities, and 22 percent are from families in which English is a second language. Director Stephanie Clift-Bourgault said the free library will help teach the students new English words in compliance with its mission.

Nancy James, director, MTSU Child Care Lab

Nancy James

Ann Campbell Learning Center director Christy Davis

Christy Davis

Forty-five percent of the children served by the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center have a disability. Campbell Center Director Christy Davis said the location of its free library will provide greater access for people who struggle with reading.

“The site for this library would be used by families who receive services as well as those who visit the (Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia) next door and by an apartment complex across the street,” said Davis said.

For more information about the little free libraries, contact Campbell at To learn more about Phi Kappa Phi, go to

— Gina K. Logue (