A gathering of 30 families and groups painted the little libraries July 30.
The Hopkins Men’s Shed generously created 30 Little Free Libraries for families and groups to paint at the latest July 30 One Good Deed event in Golden Valley.
From 1-4 p.m. families and groups gathered on the front lawn of Michelle Christensen’s home and a neighboring yard to paint the libraries, and could either take them home to be placed somewhere in their community or send the library elsewhere.
Groups came from all around the metro, including Hopkins, Golden Valley, south St. Paul, Richfield, St. Louis Park, New Hope, Crystal, Brooklyn Park, Bloomington and more.
When Christensen originally posted about the event on One Good Deed’s Facebook page, it received more than 400 responses from community members. She then had to place each family or group into a random drawing to fairly fill the 30 available painting spots.
“The funny thing is, but really cool is, people will put their name but then they’ll tell me why they want a little library,” she said. “Like ‘I want to build community. I want to meet my neighbors. We moved into this house and it’s what makes a house a home. I’m pregnant.’”
Christensen said it was very touching, like many of the other One Good Deed events. Next month’s event will be packing 100 backpacks for homeless youth.
“I really try to keep everything super, super organic and I’m not a fundraiser, I’m a doer. So for me, it’s so people can see their kindness be put into action ASAP. They can take their libraries home, they can plant them, they can put it out tomorrow if they want and it’s good to go,” she said.
All materials for One Good Deed are always donated, including the painting event.
“It’s one of those things where you ask the right people, most people will step up and it’s really, really lovely to rest in kindness like this, you know what I mean? Because that’s what this whole thing is,” Christensen said.
Among the participants in the painting session was Girl Scout Troop 18689, made up of 14 first-grade girls in Hopkins School District. Eight of the girls worked together to paint two little libraries, one of which will go into a Girl Scout’s neighborhood. The other will go to a veteran’s home.
Laura Griffith, a mother and leader of one of the Girl Scout troops, had previously attended another of Christensen’s One Good Deed events with her daughter Natalie as a way to do kind things for others.
“When I became a leader of this Girl Scout Troop, I decided I wanted to expose more of these girls to the great stuff that Michelle’s doing,” she said.
For Griffith, she said she saw the event as a great opportunity for the girls to put their stamp on something tangible, while also being able to keep the library within the community to visit and take care of.
“It’s fun to get them involved in hands-on projects and especially when there’s an element of kindness and putting kindness forward in the world. I think it’s really something extra special. It’s much more than painting some artwork and coloring some pictures,” she said.
St. Louis Park resident Chaiya Isenberg also came out to join the event because she loves little free libraries and giving to others. The library she painted will be going in her yard for her community to use.
“I do little library tours. I travel to find little libraries and see what they got in them. And now I might bring some to mine and put some in theirs,” she said with a smile.