On September 15th, 2017, we participated in PARK(ing) Day and represented the Community Design Collaborative in Philadelphia. PARK(ing) Day is an annual event worldwide on the third Friday in September, where many teams take a metered street parking space and transform it into a public park for a day. The goal is to promote creativity, civic engagement, generosity, and play. Please visit http://www.parkingday.org to learn more.
Our park theme was for literacy and access to information for public well-being, so we thought that the best way to get people interested in literacy and provide access to books was to make a little library. We would collect as many used book donations as we could and give them away to visitors of our park for free. Any leftover books and materials would be donated to local libraries and little libraries around Philadelphia.
The park was primarily created with wood pallets and plastic crates, which would make the border and hold all of the books. We wanted to make our space look like an outdoor reading room, so we also used chairs and outdoor rugs along with making a table out of pallet wood. All of the pallet wood fencing was painted to resemble books on a bookshelf, complete with famous titles and pictures. The banner was made with cutout letters on cardstock clipped to a jute string spanning the length of the park overhead.
Approximately 80-100 books were donated that day to people who visited our park, and we had a fun time recommending titles from our selection for people searching for a good read. Once the day was over, we thought that our little library fencing and table would be taken apart and end up in the trash. But as luck would have it, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation was in the process of finishing up a reading room at their Wister Playground facility in North Philadelphia. They were very interested in taking both the little library fencing but also wanted to use the books that we didn’t donate for the new reading room space. We transported all of the materials to the facility at Wister Playground and set up the little library one last time. It has a permanent home filled with books to read for children and adults alike.
We are very proud of our little library and were fortunate to have the chance to have it live on at Wister Playground. Many thanks should go to all that made this little library and for providing us with so many books a reality.