In the front yard of Shawnee resident Valerie Ryan's home sits the Federal Street Free Library, a red grandfather clock stocked with shelves of books from various genres.
Valerie, a Pioneer Library System librarian in Norman, said she and her husband Mark opened their Little Free Library in September, but she explained she's always wanted to complete the project.
"I've been wanting to do it for years and I kept thinking 'OK I'm going to do it' in each house I've lived in and I was talking about it with my husband...and we started looking...for the perfect house for it and we came across this grandfather clock," Valerie said.
The librarian said after finding the clock, she, Mark and their son Matthew spent three months building, painting and preparing the clock to be a library.
Valerie said she hopes her little library will help improve literacy scores in Pottawatomie County and give students more access to books.
"I decided that now was the time to do something. I felt like it was my way to contribute to the community," Valerie said.
The Federal Street Library, Valerie said, contains several different types of literature and many people have contributed to the collection.
"We've got everything. We've got non-fiction, fiction, teen books, children's books (and) adult books. You name it we've had it in there," Valerie said. "We've also had people donate."
Valerie said there has been a positive response from the community since the library opened.
"They don't have to worry about taking the book back and I think that for some reason appeals to people," Valerie said. "I was a little surprised when we opened it because we had a customer within 10 minutes and within the first three says I stocked it four or five times."
The librarian explained there is a lot of foot traffic on Federal Street and there is a plethora of people who visit the library.
"It's kind of a dream of mine to have one, so the fact that I've finally done it and that it's out there, that's one of the coolest parts for me," Valerie said. "Watching the people, we all get a kick out of it, especially the little kids when they walk away with the book."
Valerie said for obvious reasons literacy is important, but in her opinion, it's one of the only ways to be successful in life.
"I've noticed there's a lot of people, especially in Pott. County, having a lot of trouble with literacy," Valerie said. "Hopefully my little project here will help somebody."
Going forward Valerie said she will continue stocking the Federal Street Library and she and her family will soon start offering free literacy tutoring at her house.
"It's kind of a big thing for us to help out those in the community get some tutoring they otherwise couldn't receive," Valerie said.