“My favorite part is when people say how wonderful they are for our community. That just makes my heart jingle.”
Ever since she learned to read, eight-year-old Adelyn Brazil has loved books and the doors that they open to new, exciting worlds. She wanted to share that passion with others, but she wasn’t sure how. Then one day, Adelyn stumbled upon a solution-a way for her to get books in the hands of people throughout her community. And she’s just getting started.
At five years old, Adelyn got her first library card. And from that day forward, the library became her favorite place in the world. Within its shelves lay thousands of stories for her to devour, countless adventures and worlds to explore. From picture books to wizarding worlds to the eerie tales of her favorite author, R.L. Stine, she couldn’t get enough.
But Adelyn noticed that not everyone felt the same way that she did about books-maybe because reading was something they were forced to do in school or they just didn’t have the same access to books that she did.
Adelyn didn’t think that was right or fair, but she wasn’t sure what to do. Then, on a family vacation in 2017, she stumbled upon a solution.
“We were just walking around town to go to a bakery, and there was a Little Free Library,” says Adelyn. “I saw it and thought, ‘I want to share my love of reading somehow, someway. Maybe this could be a chance for me to show it.'”
Right then, she asked her parents if they could help her set up her own free library when they returned home to Crown Point, Indiana. They agreed.
From there, Adelyn went to the city council to present her idea for her free little libraries, which she named Bulldog Book Stations after a local sports team. In that plan, she set an ambitious goal for herself: She would open not one but six little libraries across her town.
With the city council’s approval, Adelyn worked with her parents to identify areas where the libraries could have the biggest impact. “Planning locations led to a conversation about not everyone having the books at home that she has,” says Adelyn’s mom, Rachel. “We always try to make Adelyn aware of different family situations so that she understands how fortunate she is and that there are so many people who could use help.”
After Adelyn mapped out her libraries, there was still one big hurdle: cost. Each Little Free Library station would cost $357-not including books. Adelyn needed to find a way to buy everything from the stations themselves to plaques and paint. It became clear that she needed to find a way to reach out to her community. That’s where her GoFundMe came in.
“The local newspaper asked to do an article about Adelyn, and from there, we got a lot of emails and comments asking how to donate,” says Rachel. “We hadn’t really thought that big. At that point, she had just been asking family and friends. We also didn’t want her to have to go up to strangers and ask for money. So we set up a GoFundMe.“
Within two months, Adelyn raised several hundred dollars-enough to start a small rainy day fund for future repairs and maintenance. Every donation also helps her keep the libraries stocked with everything from picture books to adult classics, both used and new.
“Some of our stations are almost always empty and need weekly book refills,” says Rachel. “We’ve gone through at least a few hundred books by now.”
Now, Adelyn continues to raise money through her GoFundMe to bring more books to her community. Additional donations will help her keep shelves stocked and maybe even open a new station, which her community has already requested by popular demand.
But whatever happens, Adelyn already feels that she’s succeeded: “I love seeing the libraries grow. And my favorite part is when people say how wonderful they are for our community. That just makes my heart jingle.”