Mayor’s Youth Council Places Free Little Libraries in Noblesville Parks


Little Library

Little Library 2Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear and members of the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) unveiled the first legacy community project from the organization – free little libraries. The MYC 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 – two in Forest Park – and the pocket park in downtown. The libraries at Seminary and Finch Creek Park locations will not be installed until construction is complete at each site. Noblesville High School senior Grace Wiles said the idea came from seeing 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.”

The youth council built all nine libraries and then reached out to the Noblesville 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,” said MYC advisor Michelle Glodowski. “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 the “take a book, leave a book” principal. The family-appropriate books are available to anyone in the community without needing a library card.

“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 on their own and bringing it to our community.”

In addition to building, installing and maintaining the libraries, MYC has expressed an interest in having 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,” said Wiles. “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.”

The Mayor’s Youth Council was established to provide Noblesville’s young people a voice in government and an active role in addressing youth issues. It is free and open to students who live in or attend school in Noblesville. Members are selected based on their application, recommendations and a face-to-face interview. The council advises the mayor on issues relevant to youth, learn about municipal government and the importance of civic participation, and discuss and educate their peers on council initiatives. Students also complete a project of their choosing as a group to better the community.

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