If you spend any time at Meridian Park in Loganville, you now have access to some reading material. In the lobby of the community building, there is a Little Free Library that offers books on the “take one and leave one” concept. It is there because Junior Girl Scout Troop No. 13670 decided to make literacy and reading the focus for its Bronze Award. The junior scouts, all fifth-graders, completed the project and had an official ribbon cutting on Saturday.
Andrea Raphael, Girl Scout Troop Leader, said the girls have been working on the project for a few months.
“Our bronze project was all about getting books to kids and adults … without having to worry about late fees,” Raphael said, adding that this is the sixth year since she started the troop, first as Daisies in Kindergarten and some of them have been their since the inception of Troop No. 13670. One being her daughter, Victoria, who said that the project for the Bronze Award was her mother’s idea. She said it had come to her mother one day when they were both at Meridian Park, she for art lessons and her mother to work out. She had finished and was waiting in the lobby on her mother.
“She said, ‘You know what would be really cool – if we could make a little library for someone and put it here. It would be nice if you could read a book,'” Victoria said. “So we have children’s, books, adults’ books, all age books.”
“Anybody can take a book and they don’t have to bring it back, they can just put another one there instead,” said Melanie Krone, another of the junior scouts.
“We had a couple of ideas and voted on each of them, and this is what we decided to do,” added Hannah Moore. “Every single side is a girl’s idea.”
The Little Free Library was made from a donated Walton Tribune newspaper stand and each girl had to log 20 hours, and document it, in painting the Library stand and getting the books together to stock it. They also prepared project boards to explain what they had done and how it worked. Raphael said the girls also have to maintain it for the first few months, making sure that it remains stocked and that the books are kept in good condition. She said they have plenty of books to restock if and when necessary.
The Ribbon Cutting was the culmination of the project with some members of the community in attendance and refreshments were served. Loganville Mayor Dan Curry was on hand to do the honors.
“This is such a great thing,” Curry said. “Anytime you give a book to an individual, or you give a book to a community as they are doing, you’re expanding the minds – you’re improving the minds of individuals. Especially amongst our young people – it’s helping to eliminate illiteracy. Anytime you read a book it just opens up the world to you – with travel and information. Books make better people of us.”
Before cutting the ribbon, Curry asked the Junior Schools Scout Troop if they would consider doing another one to be placed at the new Loganville City Hall when it relocates from its current location on Pecan Street to the former Loganville Elementary School. Curry said they hope to be in there by the summer.
This is just one of the projects that Junior Girl Scout Troop 13670 participates in.
“We also donate food to food banks, make birthday bags for needy children, have been caroling to elderly at Southern Plantation a some outreach projects,” Raphael said. “We have also helped younger kids. And in the fall we went to Medieval Times and had fun.”
Raphael said the troop soon also will be participating in World Thinking Day, “so the girls can learn about other cultures.”
“This year we picked Japan. In the past, we learned about Puerto Rico, Italy and France,” she said. “We make informational posters, swaps and snacks for that country.”