NEWNAN, Ga. (CBS46)-- Little pink and teal boxes stand out across Newnan in Coweta County. They're the passion project of 14-year-old Amy Hiestand.
"That's the thing about the libraries, they are all bright colors so you cannot miss them," she explains as she shows off one of her Little Libraries. "There's something special about opening up a book. It's like a magical portal to another world," says Hiestand.
Books are especially important for her, because the books take her places she physically cannot go. She has a medical condition that causes an allergic reaction to nearly everything.
"I'd go to books and read because I say books can take you places you could never go, and you can be back in time for dinner," she says.
That love of books is something she wanted to share with others. She says her aunt, an elementary school teacher in a low income neighborhood, inspired her to bring the "Little Libraries" to life.
The first library went up two years ago at Northside Baptist Church. The second was installed at Loblolly Pine earlier this summer. The third was remodeled at a park on Spring Street.
All of them are in underserved communities. "There’s a really big need in those kind of areas for books. Moms can’t get them to libraries when they’re open. I’ve had that happen to me, it was my grandmother who usually took me," she explains.
Now, Amy's family's carport is covered in boxes full of donated books. Her mother and best friend sort through the books, then sterilize and quarantine them, before dispersing them to each library.
Amy and her mother, Tawny, check the libraries several times a week. They often find them nearly empty. While many of the books don't come back, Amy says she doesn't mind that people keep the books.
For all her hard work maintaining the libraries, the CBS46 Surprise Squad treated her to a new laptop to replace her old one, which stopped working. Thanks to our sponsor, United Community Bank, the Surprise Squad also donated $1,000 to Amy's cause. "I've known about the Little Libraries so she's done such a great job and her servant heart, it's wonderful," says United Community Bank's Makinley Cook.