City Parks to Welcome Little Library Initiative

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In a recent press release, the City of Winter Park’s Fire-Rescue Department (WPFD) announced its partnership with the City’s Parks & Recreation Department to build and install five little libraries throughout city parks as part of the Little Library Initiative.

These five libraries will be built in addition to three currently existing little libraries in Winter Park. Locations for the new libraries will be city parks such as Dinky Dock Park, Howell Branch Preserve, Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, Phelps Park, and Shady Park. WPFD is also partnering with Eagle Scout Jackson Small to contribute an additional two little libraries to be installed in Ward Park and The Park at Orwin Manor.

Leading the initiative is Lauren Luna, the Fire Safety Program and Marketing Coordinator for the Winter Park Fire-Rescue Department. According to Luna, the little libraries will contain fire safety information and other literature. “There are books for all ages in the little libraries, basically each book has a home fire safety plan inside of it, and possibly a flyer on our upcoming CPR classes.”

In a recent press release, WPFD Chief Dan Hagedorn, explained that this initiative also provides a solution to COVID-19 limitations by delivering fire safety information to locals in a physically distanced way. “With Covid closures, we realized there was an opportunity to meet our residents where they’re at, which is in our parks,” Luna said. “This was a tangible sustainable way we could positively impact our community and provide resources safely.”

The nonprofit organization, Little Free Library, aims to build community through neighborhood book exchanges, which are usually in the form of public bookcases. The concept behind “take a book, return a book” not only expands public access to literature, but also inspires writers of all ages and backgrounds. According to the organization, more than 30 million adults in the United States cannot read or write above a third-grade level.

Looking ahead, the partnering departments hope to continue literature expansion. “The long-term goal is to promote literacy in our beautiful city, educate our residents and neighbors on the importance of fire-safety, and how they can make a difference,” said Hagedorn.

For more information regarding WPFD’s participation in this program, please contact lluna@cityofwinterpark.org or call 407-599-3609.

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