Literacy is important to Sandra Terry.

“It's been my passion for a long time,” she said. “If you can't read, you are always going to be dependent on other people, and it's difficult for you to find a really good job.”

Terry spearheads a Sand River Woman's Club project that provides a bookcase filled with books for each new house built by Aiken County Habitat for Humanity. She's also gotten the organization involved in a Little Free Library effort that puts boxes of free books in neighborhoods for residents to read.

“A friend in Wisconsin, where the Little Free Library started, sent me an article about it,” said Terry, who loved the program's “take a book, return a book” concept (

Terry got her husband, Dennis, who puts together the Habitat for Humanity bookcases, to build her a Little Free Library box out of wood this past spring. She painted the top red and the door black and white. She also painted Harry Potter's glasses, a red book and a lavender lightning bolt on the box's left and right sides.

Then Terry put her Little Free Library on a post on the corner of Colleton Avenue and Charleston Street and stocked it with books for children, teenagers and adults.

“In the beginning, hardly any books were put back in,” Terry said. “But just recently, I've seen a couple of books in there that I know I didn't put in, so it's slowly beginning to come around. As time goes on, I hope more people will bring books back or share other books that they liked. But if they don't bring a book back, I'm still happy because I know they're reading.”

Terry visits her Little Free Library regularly while walking her golden retrievers, Gavin and Zippidee, and makes sure it always has plenty of books inside.

“In the beginning, more adult books were taken,” Terry said. “But now the books for teens and children are a little more popular. I think it's been well received. On average, five to 10 books are taken every week, and that's pretty good.”

One day, when Terry was putting some books in the Little Free Library, she saw a mother and her four children standing nearby.

“They were watching me, so I asked them, 'Do you kids want a book?'” Terry said. “They said, 'Oh, yes,' and they ran over and got some books about Halloween. Each kid walked away with a book to read. That's what makes the Little Free Library so delightful.”

Terry's husband recently built another Little Free Library box, and she put it in the Habitat for Humanity neighborhood, Warren Ridge, in Warrenville.

“We could build another one in the future, but we'll wait and see if this one is as successful as the first one,” Terry said.

Terry and her fellow Sand River Woman's Club members provide most of the books for the two Little Free Library boxes, but they've received some donations from other sources.

“If anybody would like to give us books, we would be thrilled to get them,” Terry said. “All I ask is for the books to be in good condition.”

For more information, call Terry at 803-649-0420.

“I'll tell them where they can drop the books off, or I'll come pick them up,” she said.

Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C., she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.