Oak Knoll Dedicates Little Library to Beloved Former Teacher

On Friday, June 2, 2023, Oak Knoll Lower School students, faculty, and staff gathered to dedicate the new “Little Lending Library” adjacent to the chapel and outdoor turf field. The ceremony and blessing were held in honor of the late Anne Lofredo — beloved Lower School second grade Religion, Science, and Social Studies Teacher. Members of Ms. Lofredo’s family were in attendance to mark the occasion.

The original idea for the small lending library was conceived by Elinor Takenaga, former Lower School Librarian who is now Director of the Hope Memorial Library in the Upper School. As current Lower School Librarian Betty Castello explained, “She had this great vision that if children were out at recess, they should be able to take a book and read it if they didn’t feel like playing the other outdoor games. Unfortunately, we had the pandemic and we weren’t able to install it until now.”

The dedication included information on the history of little lending libraries with reflections by several faculty members and some of Ms. Lofredo’s former students. It culminated with the raising of hands for a group blessing of the library. 

In her blessing, Lower School Division Head Chris Spies prayed, “May this little library stand tall and strong and provide books to all for years to come. Please bless all who gather here to sample a story, and may they experience joy and growing knowledge from the books they borrow. Please bless the soul of Anne Lofredo, for whom this little library is dedicated, for her love of Oak Knoll, her students, and her passion for teaching and learning. In the book of Anne’s life, her story included Oak Knoll, and we were blessed by her presence. As we use the little library, remind us to be grateful for each story we read, for each adventure a book provides, and remind us to find joy in these and all experiences.”

Ms. Lofredo’s former student Michaela Castano ’25 said, “It makes sense that this library is dedicated to Ms. Lofredo. She loved books and loved reading to us. It makes sense to have a place on campus where we can come to share our favorite stories with others, and it makes sense that this place is named for Mrs. Lofredo, because she meant so much to so many of us. She lived the Holy Child spirit and we all loved her.”

The Oak Knoll Little Library is modeled on a concept developed from humble beginnings by Tod Bol in 2009 as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher. His vision was for small wooden kiosks in informal locations that people could use to “take a book, share a book” to join a movement of free and fun book exchange.

Beyond the wonderful resources offered in Oak Knoll’s Lower and Upper school libraries, we hope our own humble trading post for books will become a source of joy and inspiration for curious minds as they mingle with their friends at recess, before, or after class. 

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