USG Take a Book/Leave a Book


The program is open to all students who want to participate. (Courtesy of Sebastian Diaz/The Fordham Ram)

During last semester, United Student Government (USG) Senator Thomas DePaola, GSB ’22, proposed the idea for a Take-A-Book, Leave-A-Book Program on the Fordham campus. Now the new program is making an impact on students and faculty at both Fordham’s Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses.

The concept for DePaola’s idea was generated by the Little Free Library program, an international nonprofit organization that promotes neighborhood book exchanges. The nonprofit was founded in 2009 and is now responsible for more than 90,000 public book exchanges and 125,000 little free libraries.

DePaola worked closely with his fellow USG Senators Kristen Ronan, FCRH ’22, and Joseph Marraccini, GSB ’22, to secure funding, materials and administrative support for the miniature library.

Ronan said that the little free library initiative received widespread support from other USG members. “Everyone was really excited about the idea,” said Ronan.

Ronan and DePaola said they were hoping to make an impact during their last year on USG at Fordham by introducing more initiatives geared towards fun opportunities that the student body could enjoy.

“We wanted to do something that [students] could enjoy, especially as we’re all getting back on campus post-pandemic. [The mini-library] is something a lot of people can use and interact with together,” said DePaola.

The mini-library is located on the first floor of the McShane Campus Center across from the multipurpose room. Ronan said that within the first few days of its opening she witnessed several excited conversations and discussions about the library. Students are already visiting the library frequently to exchange books.

This is exactly the outcome that the senators hoped for. The new mini-library provides a space for Fordham students to access books and engage in dialogue over non-academic reading.

DePaola, a fan of mystery and science-fiction novels, said he hopes to see the mini-library stocked with a variety of interesting genres.
According to the two senators Ronan and DePaola, it was easy to secure funding and materials for the creation of the new library. “Sometimes it’s harder to pass proposals with USG, but everyone was really happy to contribute to the library,” Ronan said.

Senators DePaola, Ronan and Marraccini worked closely with administrators in the Gabelli School of Business, as well as the Fordham English Department, to make the library happen. Ronan said that while the money for the physical library was granted through a USG budget request, Fordham’s English Department played an instrumental role in the donation of books.

Ronan said she collaborated with Professor Mary Erler of Fordham’s English Department, specifically.

The mini-library has proven to be a popular addition to Fordham’s Rose Hill campus. DePaola and Ronan said they’re interested in possibly expanding the project to create more libraries.

“A USG Senator from the Lincoln Center campus reached out to me and is following a similar protocol to establish a secondary mini-library for students on the Lincoln Center campus,” said DePaola.

DePaola also noted that the mini-libraries are a great addition to the Fordham campus because they are self-sustaining. Although he hopes to appoint someone on the USG communications committee to act as a “bookkeeper,” the library runs on the honor system. The hope is that every time a student takes a book from the library, they put a new book inside.

After several months of work to establish the mini-library, senators DePaola, Ronan and Marraccini look forward to the new conversation, friendships and stories that are shared as a result of the miniature library program. Given its early success, it has already proven to be a positive contribution to student life and will hopefully continue to flourish on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus.