Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear and members of the Mayor’s Youth Council recently unveiled its first legacy community project – Little Free Libraries. The council worked in conjunction with the Noblesville Parks Foundation and were funded by a grant from Duke Energy to create the “Arts in the Parks” project.
A library will be available in every Noblesville park, including two in Forest Park and the pocket park downtown. The libraries at Seminary Park and Finch Creek Park will not be installed until construction is complete at each site.
Noblesville High School senior Grace Wiles said the idea was inspired by similar programs in other communities.
“We were looking for our first big project, something we could call our own,” she said. “I thought, what better way to give people a sense of ownership of their parks? It gives people pride, so they want to go and spend time in the parks.”
Youth council members built all nine libraries and reached out to Noblesville Schools’ elementary art teachers to see if they would like to help decorate with a literacy theme.
“It ties literacy to our community and the love of reading with arts,” Noblesville Youth Council advisor Michelle Glodowski said. “Two elementary art teachers stepped up to help paint two libraries each, Hinkle Creek’s Lori Ritchie and Lisa Fritz from North Elementary. The Hinkle Creek libraries will be installed at Federal Hill Commons and Hague Road Nature Preserve, while the North Elementary libraries will be installed in Forest Park and Seminary Park.”
The libraries are based on a take-a-book-leave-a-book principal. The books are available to anyone in the community.
“We hope that this access to books will encourage a love of reading in readers of all ages and backgrounds,” Ditslear said. “I’m proud of our youth council members for coming up with this idea and bringing it to our community.”
In addition to building, installing and maintaining the libraries, the Mayor’s Youth Council plans to feature a book of the month or readings at the parks during summer and school breaks.
“The goal is that we would be engaged with the project throughout its time in Noblesville,” Wiles said. “It’s really cool and rewarding because my friends and I hang out at the parks all the time. We hope kids find their love of reading and their love of the parks, and once they are done reading, they can put their book on the shelf and grab another.”