Jeff and Marie's Library in Leavenworth, KS.

Jeff and Marie’s Library in Leavenworth, KS.

“Hooray! We brought literacy back to the world!”

Little Free Library stewards Jeff and Margaret Howards were so proud of their Library in Leavenworth, Kansas. “The Library was quickly accepted…we could see usage right away as books came and went. We could sneak peeks out the windows and see people sitting on the bench reading,” they said.

“Taking the lead from photos of other LFLs, we placed a bright yellow metal park bench alongside the Library…we balanced the display with a large, metal pink flamingo. What can I say? We are old people who got sucked into the pink flamingo black hole. We have them everywhere…it gives the neighbors something to talk about.”

But then something terrible happened. Jeff and Margaret arrived home one day and saw that the bench and flamingo were missing, possibly stolen by someone selling scrap metal or someone who just wanted it for their own patio. So what did they do?

Zombie Flamingos!

RUN! Zombie Flamingos!

They filed a police report (the officer knew exactly which bench they meant since he regularly patrolled the area). Then they put up a sign saying: Whomever stole the yellow bench from our children’s library, BRING IT BACK!

The sign had two purposes: 1) They wanted the thief to know they weren’t happy and 2) They wanted the neighborhood to know there was a thief and to keep an eye out.

Guess what happened next? A few days later they discovered an envelope on their front porch. “It was a note from the neighborhood. It stated that not only did they appreciate what we were doing, but it included a sizable cash collection to help replace the bench. Well, that motivated us to quickly get the new bench out!”

Every time we hear a tragic story of Little Library vandalism, it is followed by an excited note sharing how the neighborhood banded together to get the Library up and running again. It is amazing what can happen if you ask for help.

The chances that your Library will be vandalized are very small, but be prepared to rebuild..and rebuild once again if needed. Don’t give up. Ask for help. You started a Little Library for a reason – to spread the joy of reading! That is a worthwhile mission.

OK, we know what you’re thinking…Jeff and Margaret replaced the bench, but what about the pink flamingo?

“Fortunately for the world, there was only one large metal pink flamingo,” they ruefully reported, “but we replaced it with 2 plastic fall-colored flamingos and we are back in business.”

What’s more, as of early October, Jeff assured us that zombie flamingos now chased the rest of the flock around the lawn…just to make sure the neighbors still had something to talk about.

Stay tuned for more posts in the Rebuild and Revitalize Series.

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