The current National Service Project: Words in Action has been well-enjoyed by our unit! In its first year (2015), our unit held a book swap which resulted in a donation of 325 books to our city’s library. This year, we thought we’d do something a little bit different by building a Little Free (Children’s) Library.
Little Free Libraries are small cupboards stashed with books, housed on people’s lawns. They are free for people to visit, and they encourage people to take a book / leave a book. We thought this was a perfect fit for a literacy activity! To make the project more fun and more relatable for our Brownies, we went with a kid-focused theme.
We initially wanted to place our LFL in a city park, as we thought it would optimize the amount of traffic it could potentially receive. I contacted Guelph’s Exhibition Park Neighbourhood Group (EPNG) to see if they had any tips on permits, and was met with a friendly suggestion that we not immerse ourselves in the wonderful world of city bylaws and permits, but that we instead plan to plant our LFL on the front lawn of one of the EPNG members. A few weeks later, we met up with our host and had a plan!
Fast forward a few months, and we had the LFL built! The next step was to paint it. It took multiple coats of paint for the colour to come through strongly. We left the roof blank, and got each girl to leave her handprint on the library.
Our hosts were wonderful and built a reading platform into their tree. Each girl was asked to bring one or two books to donate and in the end, we filled our library with approximately 50 books, all for kids. We celebrated our library with bubbly juice then spent the rest of our evening playing at the park. We plan to return to our library once a year to restock the shelves of our LFL. We hope it will be a point of community for the neighbourhood, and well-used by kids of all ages!
By guest blogger Rachel Collins. Rachel is a Guider in Guelph, Ontario and Chair of the Canadian Guider Editorial Committee.
Don’t forget to log your actions for the current National Service Project: Words in Action! The more units that log their actions, the better we can track the impact girls and Guiders are having towards promoting literacy across Canada. There is also still time to participate in the NSP. Why not incorporate NSP initiatives into your summer activities?
Our Guide unit in Keene, Ontario did the same thing this year for a community service project! We had our girls decorate it with hand prints as well. They loved this project and were excited to bring in books. We had the promotional bookmarks from Girl Guides and made sure each book had one.