It all started in the summer of 2013 with free English classes at a dusty shack. Sharing books and a library eventually followed.
That June in 2013, empty nester Liz Lu had a 2-part dream. First, she wanted to provide English lessons to the Thai children in her neighborhood. She saw that access to English lessons was unequal, even though English proficiency was often the key to good career opportunities. She also noticed that, just like the Taipei of her childhood, there were no free community libraries in her Thai neighborhood. It was a sharp contrast to the excellent public library system she enjoyed while growing up in the United States. She wanted her Thai neighbors to experience the joy and benefits of reading, and to be able to borrow and take books home without having to spend a fortune. So, the second part of her dream was to open a free library for her neighbors in Pakkred, a suburban town northwest of Bangkok.
From three students at that first class in 2013, the free Sunday English classes soon regularly attracted 30 to 40 children per week. The classes were held in whatever borrowed space volunteers could find -- at a food shack, a neighbor's house, a driveway, a shophouse, and finally in November 2018, in a 2-story, rented house.
Additional programs were soon added. Parents of ESL students wanted English lessons too, so BBFL introduced free classes for adults. Families with toddlers also asked for a program, so BBFL began offering Story Time. Later, the library team added field trips, sports days, scholarships, Birthday Book Club, Visiting Author Program, Reading Incentive Program, and a variety of workshops to capitalize on the many talents of volunteers (chess, art, music, yoga, drama, basketball).
All of these special library services are free because of community support. BBFL is completely funded by grants and donations. At the core of BBFL operations is a 5-member Executive Board that works closely with two Advisory Board members. On top of that, countless other volunteers give freely of their time and talents to staff the library as librarians, teachers and translators. BBFL exists thanks to a massive amount of community support!