KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A little free library has opened for the residents of the Lonsdale community.

The Christman Company built the library in an effort to expand access to books, inspire readers of all ages and build community. Representatives of The Christman Company and Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation celebrated the opening with a ribbon cutting on Sept. 22.

“We know how important is to have books in the home,” said Marty Gibbs, senior vice president and general manager for The Christman Company’s operations in Knoxville. “The Little Free Library is a way to get books into the hands of children and families in Lonsdale and encourage them to foster a love for reading.”

The library is a part of the Christman Company’s “Be Constructive” program, an initiative to be an active and significant contributor to the communities it serves. The program supports a range of missions through volunteerism, individual and corporate giving, sponsorships, and partnerships.

“We know books can be cost-prohibitive at times and may not be in the budget,” said Tori Knight, project accountant at The Christman Company and coordinator of the Lonsdale Little Free Library project. “We welcomed the opportunity to increase free book access to more than 280 children in the Lonsdale community. Getting books into the hands of children makes our communities stronger.”

More than 150,000 public book exchanges are registered with Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization. The founder, Todd H. Bol, planted the first Little Free Library in 2009, then turned it into a nonprofit. The organization shares more than 70 million books per year, promoting its mission of “building together, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all.”