A couple weeks ago I walked past our Little Free Library, just as I do each morning and afternoon. On this particular late afternoon, I stopped to chat with one of our Seed dads and his young son, a Preschool 4s student. The boy didn’t really notice me; he was deeply engaged in looking for just the right book. His dad stood patiently behind him, supervising and at the same time giving him freedom to select a book before driving home. “He has to stop and pick out a book every day,” the father said. It was the moment when I realized what a powerful presence our new library already is at the Seed. And what a lovely way for those entering and leaving to be reminded of the importance of literacy.
The Seed’s Little Free Library (https://littlefreelibrary.org) was a gift to the school, courtesy of Emma Sar, one of our alums, and her village of family and friends who helped her complete the project. Emma is a Senior Girl Scout and the three Little Free Libraries she created were for her Gold Award project (http://www.girlscouts.org/en/our-program/highest-awards/gold-award.html). She and her crew installed the library on Earth Day, then added the final touches recently. On Tuesday we invited Emma to the Seed to explain her project to our students, as well as participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony.
At the all-school meeting Emma told everyone she wanted to do a project that would be useful to the community and sustainable. She constructed three Little Free Libraries, one in her neighborhood, one at her church, and one at the Seed. Each is unique. One looks like a little red barn and the other two resemble small houses. The Seed’s is special in that it has pieces of wood glued to the main structure that are painted to resemble book spines. They stick out like books on a shelf. The titles are favorites from different Seed classes and look really authentic. Emma described her process, including finding a carpenter who could build the libraries from her designs. Students asked her how long it took for each library. She said the time for each was about six hours, and she accumulated 80 total hours for the Gold Award. Emma also told us that the award has many requirements and only about twelve girls in Arizona receive it each year.
After the Q&A session, we all migrated outside and gathered around our new Little Free Library that had a purple ribbon tied around it. With the assistance of the same preschooler who stopped to choose a book each day with his dad, we held an official ribbon cutting ceremony with Emma standing near her project. Everyone clapped for this happy moment. When all children and teachers went back in the building to begin their day, I stayed and talked with Emma and her family, who had come for the event. We chatted about the library project, summer plans, and the future. In that moment the Seed village felt alive and well. It reinforced my belief that it’s a living entity reaching far and wide around the planet. Occasionally our students return, offering back to the Seed as Emma has done, then continue their personal journeys of curiosity, innovation, and service.