MIRANDA’S GIRL SCOUT SILVER AWARD PROJECT WROTE BY HER
My Girl Scout Silver Award project, Little Free Libraries of Taylor, addressed the issue of childhood and adult literacy within the City of Taylor. My project brought books to kids and adults that may not have access to our Taylor Community Library because of where they live within our city. By introducing the Little Free Libraries into our Community, I am hoping that residents will feel that these are “their” libraries where they can enjoy a new book while leaving a book they enjoyed for their “neighbors” to take. The Libraries are for everyone and stocked with books for all ages.
The root cause of the issue is that some of our families may not have transportation to get to the Taylor Community Library or may not have books at home. To bring the Little Free Libraries to them, my Grandpa helped me build the 3 Little Free Libraries and I initially stocked them with book donations from family, friends, and the Taylor Community Library.
My plan to sustain the Libraries involves my partnership with the Taylor Community Library to have access to additional books to replenish the Libraries and with the residents, that they will take pride in the Libraries and help to maintain them and keep them stocked with books.
The national link to my project is the Little Free Library Network that promotes literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. When I started researching the project a year ago, there were no Libraries located in the downriver area. Now, there are several that are being planned for or built in surrounding Communities.
The only obstacle that I encountered during my Girl Scout Silver Award Project occurred when I contacted the Taylor Conservatory about placing a Library on their property. It seemed like the perfect location to ensure that the Library wouldn’t be damaged, and it had benches among the flowers for people to sit on as they enjoyed their book. The person I spoke with was unfamiliar with the Little Free Library concept, so I emailed my proposal and waited for a response. I later found out that they had contacted the Taylor Rotary, who purchased and placed a Little Free Library on their property. Not letting that discourage me, I then contacted the Mayor’s office about my project and they put me in touch with the Taylor Community Library Director Theresa Powers. Theresa and her assistant, Julie, loved my project idea and partnered with me to bring the Libraries into our Community. [Julie is familiar with Little Free Libraries and is actually in charge of some of the ones located in the City of Romulus.]
Since I am under 13, my troop advisor assisted me in sharing my project by starting and maintaining a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TaylorLittleFreeLibraries) as well as posting information on our troop website. I also typed up a project proposal that I emailed to the Mayor, and presented to Theresa and Julie. I also emailed information on the project to our local newspaper, The News-Herald, and to Karl Ziomek, the City’s Director of Communication and Marketing, asking them to help spread the word. [Karl also maintains the Taylor Schools blog.] Once the libraries were installed, my troop advisor shared that information on our City’s Bulletin board Facebook page to invite the Community to visit the libraries. The Community’s feedback has been positive and supportive. To help promote my project, I was interviewed by Dave Gorgon from the Facebook page “Heritage Park Photo of the Day” and also by Andrea Blum of the Downriver News Herald. Also, The Libraries are registered on the Little Free Library website and listed on their World Map of Little Free Library book exchanges.
While planning my project, I had to be an organized decision maker. I had to recruit people for specific tasks. I recruited my Grandpa to help me build the Libraries, my Dad and his friend to help me with the installation, and my Project Advisors to help put the project in motion. I developed a building plan for the libraries that included dimensions with pictures while determining what materials and supplies were needed. I created a budget and determined how I was going to fund the project. I also wrote a project proposal to present to perspective Project Advisors/Partners along with an installation plan. From my project, I learned that leadership is all about having a vision of what you want to accomplish and working to achieve that, and that I could make a difference within my Community when given the opportunity.
The most successful aspect of my project was finally getting the libraries installed and filled with books. This was a project that I have been passionate about since the first time I read an article on Little Free Libraries and I decided then to make it my Girl Scout Silver Award project.
I can’t think of any aspect of my project that I would change or do differently. My project was something that I was passionate about and I am proud of the outcome.
I have received a lot of positive feedback and support from the Community on my project. They are excited about visiting the libraries and about donating books to my project.
My project addressed the community issue of citizens not having access to the only Library within our City because they didn’t live close by or didn’t have transportation to get there. My project brought libraries to them. I filled the libraries with books for everyone, children’s books, books for teens, and adult novels.
A concrete example of my project making a difference would be the book donations that we received during the project, and since the libraries were installed. Residents are enthusiastic and supportive about the idea of the Libraries in their neighborhood.
An example of my project’s impact that I might see later would be that the Community will continue to maintain the libraries with book donations and that they will consider these their libraries, not mine. These were made for them, to provide them with an adventure that you can only get when you open a book.
My project will help to promote adult and child literacy within our Community. Especially during the summer, when kids are out of school. They can visit one of the libraries and find a book to read to help keep their minds active.
An example of my project demonstrating that the target audience gained skills or knowledge would be the amount of visitors to the libraries since they were installed. Unfortunately, I do not have a counter to determine exactly how many have visited, but by the amount of books that have been taken or the new books that have appeared.
An example of a long-term impact on my target audience would be that each of the libraries would be “stewarded” by a resident that lived in the immediate area where they are located and they would help maintain and stock the libraries also.
Discover: I gained practical life skills by having to learn how to write up a building plan and budget along with a project proposal that I presented to my perspective Project Advisors/Partners, and an installation plan for the City to approve for installing the libraries.
Connect: I felt more connected to my Community when we were choosing the locations for the Libraries. I wanted to find areas where they would get a lot of visitors while wanting to make sure they would be protected from vandalism.
Take Action: I identified a Community issue of some residents not having access to our City library and brought 3 libraries to them. The libraries are stocked with books for kids, teens, and adults.
POSSIBLE FUTURE IMPACT;
I think this project helped me with my fear of public speaking and with what steps are needed to plan and implement a project that will make a positive change in my Community. I definitely think I am more prepared now for when I start planning my Gold Award Project.
Respectfully submitted by Miranda Raich Troop #41135