Mar 22, 2014 12:20 AM by Rebecca Taylor
TUCSON - Acts of vandalism with fire have an East side community on high alert. A free standing library set up near Anna Henry Elementary was torched early Friday morning.
There are eight Little Libraries around Pima County. Volunteers say none have been tagged or broken until now.
"It's devastating, and it makes me really angry," says Shannon Twilling, "my Girl Scouts troop, ages five to 10 have spent months working on this getting ready collecting books."
Vandals targeted the book dispensers near 5th Street and Harrison. They're refurbished newspaper dispensers turned into a treasure chest of books. Many of the precious pages inside, are now charred from fire.
Nearby Henry Elementary was targeted too, for the second time this year. A slide on the children's playground was melted.
"It takes away from learning, and it puts a sense of fear into the kids," says Twilling.
5-year old Sadie and big sister Anna are helping with the cleanup. "It makes me sad that they did this to the books," says Sadie.
When asked how much she loves reading, Anna responds, "I love to read. Sometimes, I stay up so late, that I'm so tired and I just read books."
Dedicated less than a month ago, the library already has a big following. Building Little Libraries is an international movement to promote reading. No checkout sheet is required, the motto is ‘take a book, leave a book'.
Hearing of the vandalism neighbors like Nicole Coury are doing what they can to replace burned books with new ones.
"I mean it's books for children, so I don't understand why people would have to burn them," says Coury.
"I want them to know this was very very hurtful," says Twilling, "this was for kids, by the kids, for the kids, and that's who you're hurting."
Volunteers are working to clean the book dispenser. They're still in need of books. If you'd like to donate, you can drop them off at the Girl Scouts main headquarters located at 4300 E Broadway Blvd.