Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post
Most folks would agree that there is one public library in Garfield Ridge.
Now are there are two.
Thanks to the Girl Scouts of Cadette Troop 20383, a little
library has been installed next to the playground at Valley Forge Park, 7001 W. 59th St.
“This was part of their bronze award project,” said Christina Sanchez a co-leader of the troop with Rebecca Zamora. “The girls decided this is what they wanted to do; so they planned it and made it happen.”
The girls responsible for the neighborhood improvement are Isabella Escobedo, Emma Woods, Sophia Montoya, Megan Wolynia, Isabela Aguilar, Maya Sanchez, Graciela Aguilar, Mary Alice Baxter, Sophia Mendez, Sarah Sandoval, Genevieve Pedroza, Emily Sikora and Briana Figgins.
As is so often the case, Scout moms and dads played a role. At the installation, dads helped dig a post hole, plant the little library (basically a small bookshelf atop a post) in the hole, work with the girls to mix and pour concrete to anchor the library in the ground—and then stood back as the girl posed for a victory photo.
Painted primarily with Girl Scout green and white, the little library bears the troop’s number.
It is filled with donated books—everything from “read to me” books for babies to adult fiction and non-fiction.
On hand by invitation to offer her support and donate a book
(“When Penny Met POTUS”) was new 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares.
“These types of activities are what make this neighborhood such a good place to live and raise a family,” Tabares said. “”Anything I can do to support our local Scouts and other youth groups, I gladly will.”
Troop 20383 meets regularly at the Clearing Branch Library, 6423 W. 63rd Place. The troop is a dozen strong and includes girls—all sixth and seventh graders--who attend several schools in the area.
“The feedback we’ve gotten from parents is this is something they want to see,” added Sanchez, now in her fifth year as a Girl Scout leader. “The girls are proud of what they’ve accomplished, as they should be, and they are already talking about building and installing more little libraries at other parks in the area, like Hale and Wentworth.”
People are welcome to visit the self-service library, take a book to read and bring it back—or take a book and replace it with a donated book. It operates entirely on the honor system.
The Little Free Library movement was launched with humble origins in 2009 by a Wisconsin man who built and installed one on his front lawn to honor the memory of his departed mother.
Less than a decade later, the book-exchange movement has mushroomed into more than 60,000 Little Free Libraries across the nation and around the world.
Well done, girls! Thank you for making Garfield Ridge a better place.