Last week, on June 21, the longest day of the year was also one of the brightest. We celebrated the installation – and fully stocking – of 55 new Little Free Libraries in Minneapolis parks.
Thanks to a powerful partnership of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation with Minnesota Public Radio, The Minneapolis Foundation, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, you can now visit any recreation center in Minneapolis and check out a book.
We “booked it” to the parks – all day long
The solstice read-a-thon on June 21 brought nearly 50 readers to Minneapolis recreation centers to share the joy of books with children and youth throughout Minneapolis. Each project partner contributed readers, and several community members joined in the fun, including Minnesota Twin Jason Castro, rapper Terrell Woods (Carnage the Executioner), and FOX sports commentator Lea B. Olson.
Among our own readers were Tom Evers, our executive director, at Corcoran Recreation Center and Chee Xiong, who gave a reading in English and Hmong at two locations – Harrison and Webber. Jennifer Downham entertained several of “man’s best friend” (and their friends) at the Victory Prairie Off-leash Dog Park. I read three of my kids’ most treasured tomes – Big Red Barn, Kitten’s First Full Moon, and The Little Crooked House – to a not-so-swarthy gathering of “pirates” (aka Rec+ youngsters) at Lyndale Farmstead Park.
Just like the parks themselves, each reader and each group had a character all its own and showcased the diversity of Minneapolis and the way our parks become the center of the community.
To find a Little Free Library at a Minneapolis recreation center (Martin Luther King and Logan have two!), visit the Park Board’s website. Other libraries we helped install in the park system include the Victory dog park, as well as Longfellow House at Minnehaha Park, and Perkins Hill Park. Some are mobile libraries, so they may be located inside the building and available during rec center hours. All libraries are being stewarded by local community members.
Thank you for making these libraries possible!
We want to extend a special thanks to our donors who made this project possible – especially Standard Water Control Systems, as well as an anonymous donor who contributed more than 2,000 books. We also want to recognize the following publishers and individuals who contributed books: Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, Bev Hlavac, Milkweed Editions, John Owens, Star Bright Books, University of Minnesota Press, and Ruth Usem.
We appreciate the generosity of all our donors, whose support makes parks projects that transform human lives possible. Thank you!