Tempe Business of Year donates Little Libraries to 4 Tempe El schools

CHASSE Building Team partnered with Tempe Elementary School District to assemble Little Free Libraries at Laird, Thew, Nevitt and Scales elementary schools. –Photos by Alison Bailin Batz for Wrangler News.

By Alison Bailin Batz

Wrangler News Contributor

Studies show that the reading achievement of children growing up in homes without books is, on average, three years behind children in homes with lots of books.

Among the most-successful ways to improve reading achievement is to increase children’s access to books, especially at home.

Barry Chasse, founder of CHASSE Building Team, and father of two daughters, took that to heart.

CHASSE project director Fred Bueler and Tempe Elementary School District superintendent Christine Busch hold donated books next to a completed Little Free Library.

CHASSE, recently named Business of the Year by the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, recently partnered with Tempe Elementary School District to assemble and launch Little Free Libraries at Laird, Thew, Nevitt and Scales elementary schools.

A Little Free Library is a take-a-book, return-a-book free book exchange. Little Libraries come in many shapes and sizes, but the most-common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share.

“Being able to read changes lives for children,” said Christine Busch, Tempe Elementary School District superintendent. “CHASSE’s donation of the Little Free Libraries will impact our children for years to come.”

CHASSE assembled the four 4-foot structures outside of each school in October and donated 25 books to each Little Free Library to get the sharing started.

CHASSE also painted each one with the famous Dr. Seuss quote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” to inspire those of all ages who come upon them.

“We also painted each structure with each school’s individual colors, and there is a plaque from the Tempe Elementary School District and our team dedicating each library to the children and teachers,” Chasse said.

CHASSE project director Fred Bueler, Tempe Elementary School District project manager Robyn Reichert, Nevitt Elementary instruction support teacher Erica Bradford, Tempe Elementary School District facilities director Dave Farmer, Nevitt principal Vernice Sharpe and CHASSE superintendent Tracy Frenzel celebrate completion of the Nevitt Little Free Library.

Two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own, according to Little Free Library, which is the overarching 501c3 organization that founded the concept.

This isn’t CHASSE’s first effort with Tempe Elementary. The firm also recently completed work on the district’s new Wood Elementary School, which was built from the ground up on a site adjacent to the existing (and now former) facility during the past year. The new school features 30 classrooms, administration and office space, a learning commons building, a multipurpose room and a cafeteria building with three music classrooms.

It provides outdoor dining and learning spaces – which were designed in partnership with Wood students – and a new parent drop-off and pick-up area.

“One of our main goals at CHASSE is to incorporate as much STEM and Project Based Learning into the student’s curriculum when working on a school campus,” Chasse said. “Prior to the onset of COVID-19, in fact, we partnered with Tempe Elementary School District to incorporate hands-on lessons into the curriculum at Wood Elementary School.

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