Sisters Kelly and Tanairi Garcia are no strangers to community service, and recently, they both put on their hardhats to bring one of the popular Free Little Libraries to their neighborhood at John Ruiz Park.
Both sisters are in the midst of a busy election season. Kelly is the current School Committee chair and is running for reelection, while Tanairi is challenging incumbent District 7 Councillor Yamir Rodriguez.
Kelly Garcia said the sisters came up with the idea to build the small, wooden library near where they were born and raised on Washington Avenue as a way to help improve literacy and raise a love of reading for children and young people in the neighborhood.
“We wanted to help increase literacy, so that when the kids walk to the local park, they can also check out a book at the Little Free Library,” said Kelly Garcia.
The Little Free Library phenomenon is based on donations, where anyone can take a book, and community members are encouraged to stock the small wooden structure with new books. Kelly said she and her sister have already restocked since they built it several weeks ago.
Dozens of young neighborhood readers turned out for a recent kick-off party for the new library, with cotton candy, popcorn, balloons, and games.
But the most popular and fulfilling aspect of the celebration was the number of young people who were found curled up with a good book throughout the park.
“This is exactly what we intended when we started this, we want them to learn to love reading and engaging with books,” said Kelly. “As an educator myself, it is important to increase reading and vocabulary at a very young age.”