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Recent Vandalism Damages Community Book Sharing Box At South Side Park

9/25/2019, noon | Updated on 9/25/2019, noon
Brown Memorial Park, 634 E. 86th St., in Chatham was recently vandalized by an unknown party who dispersed trash throughout ...
In August, the Brown Memorial Park Advisory Board dedicated its free library box , made possible by the Neighbor to Neighbor Literacy Project. The library box was recently damaged during an act of vandalism (pictured). Photo Credit: Provided by the Brown Memorial Park Advisory Board

Recent Vandalism Damages Community Book Sharing Box At South Side Park

BY KATHERINE NEWMAN

Brown Memorial Park, 634 E. 86th St., in Chatham was recently vandalized by an unknown party who dispersed trash throughout the park and damaged the recently dedicated free library box at the park where residents can find free books to enjoy.

“The box was vandalized, it was knocked over and off of its pedestal. All the books that were in there were taken out and strewn across the park. They took the books and tore them up and threw some of them in the splash pad and others they ripped up and threw all over. They tipped the garbage cans over and trash was everywhere. They took the books and destroyed them and burned them and made them unusable,” said Carl Lewis, president of the Brown Memorial Park Advisory Board.

Lewis takes pride in the work that the Brown Memorial Park Advisory Board has done over the last few years which includes keeping the park clean, painting the benches bright colors, building a new gazebo, and adding the free library box which was made possible through a partnership with the Neighbor to Neighbor Literacy Project.

The Neighbor to Neighbor Literacy Project is a nonprofit organization that supports literacy in Chicago through neighborhood book sharing in parks and public spaces, according to information from their website.

“We have a great community and I saw how something like this could lend its hand. This is an educated community where people read and to have free books is great,” said Lewis. “We voted on this as a board and after approving it, we immediately got ahold of [the Neighbor to Neighbor Literacy Project] and gave them the $200 that it costs for the box and it was done.”

Brown Memorial Park was able to get its own free library box and Lewis said that there have been about 100 books that have gone through the box this summer and that he has many more in his garage that were donated by community members to be put into the box.

Lewis was devastated to see the library box damaged by vandalism and said that he is looking for the person that did it but wants that individual to know that he still loves them despite being hurt by their actions.

Looking towards the future, the Brown Memorial Park Advisory Board has big plans for the park which include potentially adding a field house, hopefully expanding their footprint, and possibly installing a mural that would be beneficial to park goers and the surrounding residents that share an alley with the park.

But first, Lewis said he plans to repair the damaged library box and add a second box on the opposite end of the park.

“Our intentions are to put a second box to show whoever tore down the first box that they can’t tear our spirit. One box will be for children’s books and the other box will be for more adult books,” said Lewis.