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Chamber of Commerce celebrates Little Free Libraries at Emma Ward, Eastside parks

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Chamber of Commerce celebrates Little Free Libraries at Emma Ward, Eastside parks Submitted photo

On a crisp winter morning, the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the City of Douglas, proudly hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the much-anticipated Little Free Libraries at Emma Ward Park and Eastside Park. The event, which drew a vibrant crowd of community leaders, city officials, and dedicated volunteers, marked a joyous occasion for literacy enthusiasts and supporters of community enrichment.



Little Free Library, a non-profit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is on a mission to strengthen communities by fostering a love for reading and expanding access to books. Their simple yet powerful motto, "Take a book. Share a book." embodies the spirit of the project. In partnership with the City of Douglas's Keep Douglas Beautiful organization, the Little Free Libraries were strategically placed throughout the city.



The project, spearheaded by Keep Douglas Beautiful Executive Director Christian Burkett and City of Douglas Customer Service Manager Jeffery Ingram, saw collaboration with The Community Foundation, adding an extra layer of community engagement.



The ceremony, graced with the presence of community leaders, commenced with a warm welcome from Chelsea Preston, the Member Relations Director at the Chamber. Pastor Frank C. Bussey of The Empowerment Center International Ministries offered a heartfelt invocation, expressing gratitude for the organizations involved in enriching the lives of the community's youth.



Wynetta Bolder, City Clerk at the City of Douglas, shared firsthand appreciation for the dedicated work and passion invested in the project. Quoting Dr. Seuss, she emphasized the transformative power of reading: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."



Ben Floyd, Vice Chair of the Chamber Board, applauded the enduring partnerships with the City of Douglas and The Community Foundation, echoing Pastor Bussey's sentiments about the organizations' commitment to youth enrichment.



Christian Burkett provided insights into the inception and realization of the Little Free Library project, while Jeffery Ingram shared the passion that fueled their collaboration with the organization and their vision to extend the initiative throughout the City of Douglas.



Dinitra Williams, President of Keep Douglas Beautiful, closed the ceremony with a special thank you to everyone involved—those present, contributors, and supporters who donated, supplied materials, constructed the libraries, provided artistic touches, and stocked the shelves with books.



Amidst a community-driven atmosphere, Christian Burkett and Jeffery Ingram ceremoniously cut the ribbon, symbolizing their dedication to this heartfelt project. The Little Free Libraries at Emma Ward Park and Eastside Park are now officially open, inviting readers of all ages to explore the world through the magic of books.



The celebration continues as the Chamber of Commerce prepares to unveil the Madison Avenue Park and Wheeler Park Little Free Libraries on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, at 10 am at Wheeler Park. 

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