After several years as Capital Journal vending machines, some old newspaper boxes have new life, thanks to the ingenuity shown by a pair of Pierre elementary school teachers.

Jackie Richey and her twin sister, Jen Nedrebo, are Title 1 teachers, with Richey working at Jefferson Elementary and Nedrebo at Buchanan Elementary. Together, they came up with the idea to use the former newspaper boxes for their participation in the Little Free Library Program.

“I want to say a big thank you once again for donating the newspaper boxes for us to make our little libraries,” Richey told the Capital Journal on Monday. “We hope these libraries can help spread our passion for reading by getting books into the homes of families in our neighborhoods and beyond.”

According to the Wisconsin-based nonprofit organization, its mission is to, “inspire a love of reading, build community, and provide book access for all.”

“Today, there are 100,000 registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 states and 108 countries, from Argentina to Zambia,” the website states.

Richey said she and her sister regularly work with small groups of students for reading instruction. She said her library is located at 206 Lakeside Lane, while her sister’s is at 125 Mars St.

“We plan to register them on the little free library website as soon as our official signs come,” Richey said.

Capital Journal publisher Jeffrey Hartley congratulated the sisters on their project.

“We were more than happy to donate the old vending machines and see them have a second life and such a worthwhile purpose,” Hartley said. “We join Jackie in hoping their efforts and this great idea spread their passion (and mine) for reading.”

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