Emerging Leaders donates Little Free Library to park _lowres

Advocate photo by C.J. Futch -- Matt Spradley, left, and Andrew Mouledous, pause to assess boards propping the Little Free Library still with a concrete footing sets, while Natalie Wood holds the box steady. All three are executive committee members of Emerging Leaders, and the library is the first step of what they hope to turn into a city-wide project in conjunction with BREC parks.

BREC’s City-Brooks Community Park had added a means to exercise the brain as well as the body with the installation of a Little Free Library, donated, installed and stocked by volunteers from Capital Area United Way’s new Emerging Leaders Program.

Members of Emerging Leaders’s executive committee completed the project Feb. 25, planting the tiny take-one, leave-one library on the walking path between Raising Cane’s Dog Park and the children’s playground, 1605 Dalrymple Drive, but the project has been a year in the making.

“We figured out a lot of things this time around,” said Lauren Williams, Director of Leadership Giving for CAUW, forging a partnership with BREC to choose a good location for the first of what Emerging Leaders members hope will be many Little Free Libraries to be installed in BREC parks.

“The focus for Emerging Leaders is to support early childhood education, so this fits,” Williams said.

They also wanted to target the libraries to areas serving children who might not have ready access to books.

Improvements to early childhood education also is one of the focus areas for United Way, said Ashley Montagnino with United Way.

Emerging Leaders is only one year old, Williams said, and they’re trying to get the word out to potential members to get involved.

The program is open to residents 40 years old and younger with an annual commitment of at least $1,000 to United Way, Williams said. There are about 150 eligible members, and the core group of executive committee members hopes to expand.

In addition to volunteer opportunities like this one, Williams said, EL offers professional development and leadership training events and networking opportunities.

For more information about the Little Free Libraries, United Way or the Emerging Leaders Program, email Williams at laurenw@cauw.org or visit the United Way’s website, www.cauw.org.