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Clarkson community rebuilds destroyed library

by Zach Wagner - Lifestyles Editor
Wed, Feb 5th 2020 05:05 pm
Books from the little library in Hafner Park burnt to pieces by unknown vandals.
Books from the little library in Hafner Park burnt to pieces by unknown vandals.

What started as a Girl Scout project, meant to make the Town of Clarkson a slightly better place, turned into a community-wide event after vandals took action in effort to destroy the hard work of three local scouts.

“I’m one of the troop leaders of Girl Scout troop 60233,” Clarkson resident Roxanne Bieler said. “Back in 2018 the girls were working on their silver award project, which is the second highest award the girls can earn in girl scouts.”

After pondering some ideas, the three Girl Scouts, Bieler’s daughter Kate included, finalized the details to build little libraries in three separate places in the community. Hafner Park, Hamlin Beach State Park and the Sweden/Clarkson Recreation Center, were the three lucky locations that received a little library.

“We were thinking of ways that we could enhance the community,” Kate said. “[My mom] is an English teacher and she gave us the idea that reading should be strengthened in the community. We are all kind of artistic so we thought it would be a fun to paint and learn all about the tools.”

The girls, with the help of some local volunteers, built the little libraries out of plywood, consisting of a roof with shingles to make sure the books would stay safe no matter what the weather forecast called for.
The citizens of the community played a major role in the project, donating and stocking the shelves with books for the children to use. Kate and the two other girls involved in the project would visit the little libraries often, checking to make sure everything was still intact.

The project was a success in the community; it attracted many children in the area making it a hot commodity to visit whenever you were looking for a good read. After nearly two years of service, one of the little libraries experienced a horrific tragedy.

In the beginning of January 2020, the little library located in Hafner Park was vandalized by a couple of locals, leaving Kate and her fellow Girl Scouts questioning why someone would ever be motivated to participate in such a criminal act.

“It was just disappointing because we put all the work in and someone would just go and break it,” Kate said. “It was kind of annoying because we put in all the work and now we have to do it all over again. Why would someone do that?”

The vandals responsible for dismantling the little library in Hafner Park broke the railing that the books and shelves rested on, destroying the wood used to make the library. The vandals then proceeded to burn the books, leaving nothing but ashes that once made up some of the local children’s favorite books.
Despite all the negatives that came from the destruction of a community favorite, many positives surfaced as a neighborhood watch group on Facebook came together in an effort to help reconstruct the little library in Hafner Park.

“Someone had posted it on the Brockport Neighborhood Watch Facebook Page,” Town of Clarkson Supervisor Christa Filipowicz said. “It got a lot of traction and people wanted to help and donate; we got a hold of the Girl Scouts and they were willing to rebuild it.”

Many people in the surrounding area that were willing to help came together on Saturday, Jan. 25, to rebuild the new and improved little library. The Town of Clarkson is waiting on the installation of the new project because it still needs to fix the railing that was also damaged in the incident.  

The two vandals that took part in this crime are still on the loose. When the flame from the books lit up the dark January sky, the surveillance cameras on the Town of Clarkson Highway Department building were able to make out two figures but weren’t quite able to catch any facial features. Some members of the department say they may recognize the figures being two kids that like to hang out in the area.
The community surrounding Hafner Park came back even stronger, working together to turn a negative into an even bigger positive.   


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