The bookshelves of Oregon residents could soon house a wider diversity of books, thanks to a group of Girl Scouts.

Troop 2536, the girls of which are going to be sixth graders this year, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new little free library on Sunday, Aug. 16. Although several little free libraries already dot yards and sidewalks around town, this one has a special focus – stories about diversity from racial issues to social justice.

The Scouts tossed around ideas but landed on the topic of diversity after considering how protests against racial injustice have become more commonplace this year, parent Lora Kuehl said.

Kuehl said several ideas for a location were considered including outside of the new Forest Edge elementary school, or in front of the Oregon Youth Center. Ultimately, Kuehl’s yard was selected, at 276 Sterling Dr.

“What the little library means to me is getting to learn and helping others to read more books, said girl scout Ainsley Voegele. “Its purpose is to get kids to read and learn more about other races and disabilities. I hope it will provide another option for learning in the community and help others.”

Kuehl said the Scouts did research on books to include that focus on the topics of diversity and social justice. The library will offer picture books, mid-level reading books and books for adults. It will also offer other items such as journals with pens and bookmarks with quotes.

The Scouts helped come up with the design and ordered a kit of Amish built parts. They assembled it and painted it in shifts, since the troop couldn’t all be together during the pandemic. Kuehl said overall seven girls worked on the project with the help of their families.

The kit and books were all purchased with money earned from cookie sales.

Kuehl said she put hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes out for others to use as well and will also periodically wipe down the door handle and the books herself.

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The Scouts created an Amazon Wishlist and duplicated it onto bookshop.org – a website that benefits local bookstores. Residents can have books shipped from the wish lists to her address. Kuehl said she also goes to thrift stores to look for books and that donations of used books are accepted.

“We so appreciate all of the amazing community donations we have received,” she said.

Neal Patten, community reporter, can be contacted at neal.patten@wcinet.com.