Chatham Reads: Rebuilding the Lending Libraries

Chatham Reads is a partnership led by Chatham County Schools and the Chatham Education Foundation partnering with other local organizations to bring awareness of literacy and literacy resources to the community.

The mission of Chatham Reads is to foster community partnerships that are dedicated to ensuring that literacy and reading resources are accessible to all Chatham County residents. They have joined the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and work to ensure that ALL our children are reading at or beyond grade-level by the end of 3rd grade.

To help ensure that all children have access to books, in 2017, Chatham Reads installed eight lending libraries throughout Chatham County. As you can imagine, after being exposed to the elements for 5 years, the lending libraries were in disrepair.

When Kathy Havens, the Program Manager for Chatham Reads was hired in 2021, rebuilding the lending libraries became her first mission. She contacted Book Harvest of Durham and they kindly shared the building plans they used to build their lending library. Kathy began scouring the county for volunteers who were willing to rebuild the libraries. This was not a little undertaking.

Alan Rimer, a member of the Galloway Ridge Woodworkers heard about the project and contacted Kathy. He offered to lead for the entire project. After a few obstacles, the Galloway Ridge Woodworkers completely rebuilt all of the libraries using the new and improved design and paid extra attention to construction and weatherizing.

The new libraries will be installed with the help of volunteers and the following community groups and businesses: Chatham County Parks and Rec Department, Siler City Parks and Rec Department, Bold Construction, and the Moncure Lions Club.

The libraries are filled with books that are gifted to us through our book drives and other donations. Please enjoy visiting the libraries and taking a book home to build your home libraries.

For additional information about the lending libraries, please contact Kathy Havens at

Article by: Jaime Detzi

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