The arrival of Think Idea Studio, a local advertising agency, to Searcy has brought the Think ART Project, an initiative to improve the quality and tourism of Searcy through the promotion of art in its many forms. Their newest project invites local clubs, organizations and businesses to build book share houses to install around the community.
These book share houses are filled with books and mounted on posts, and operate by a take-a-book, leave-a-book policy.
Mat Faulkner from Think Idea Studio said he got the idea for the book share houses while visiting other communities. The purpose of having other organizations build the houses is to give people in the community the ability to be involved, according to Faulkner.
“It’s a way to donate without necessarily donating money,” Faulkner said. “There are people already just waiting to donate books to them for whenever they get installed, so that’s the fun part of it.”
Assistant professor and librarian Jean Waldrop said she first came across this kind of project when she was in Gulf Shores. People would leave sticky notes on the books they read, encouraging or warning future readers. Waldrop said she believes this initiative will encourage reading for pleasure which in turn will help people connect and help college students relieve stress.
“I think reading books helps you learn how relationships work and how people connect to each other,” Waldrop said. “I know for college students one of the hardest things is you have so much academic reading that you have to do for all of your classes that it’s hard to get in some pleasure reading. But they actually say that students that read for pleasure actually do better with their grades.”
Freshman Emma Williams is a Searcy native with plans to become an English teacher. Although these houses will hold a variety of books for all ages, Williams said she is excited about the opportunities they will hold for the children.
“I think kids really do have a passion to learn and a passion just to, not necessarily to create, but I guess part of them just wants to be able to escape to a new world,” Williams said. “I think it will give kids a sense of giving but also receiving … I think that’s a good thing instilled in people.”
Williams also said she hopes to see a book share house on Harding’s campus.
“I think that would be so fun,” Williams said. “I feel like the books would always be changing every day. I would probably participate a lot. And I think it would be a cool community thing.”
Faulkner said they are not releasing any specific plans to follow when constructing the share houses, and the only requirements are that they are aesthetically pleasing, waterproof and are mounted to an inch by inch post. In order for them to be displayed at Beats and Eats on Nov. 17, they must be turned in to Think Idea Studio by Wednesday, Nov. 15; however, any houses donated after that will still be accepted. Once they are installed in the community, Faulkner said a map will be illustrated and located on Searcy.com.
Any Harding clubs or organizations are encouraged to participate. To get involved, visit the Think ART Project Facebook page.