LINCOLN PARK — A Lincoln Park hot spot for literature lovers and artists alike has a new attraction thanks to two local Girl Scouts.
Sophia Rodriguez-Day and Olivia Zindel, both members of Girl Scout Troop 20469, spent the last six months building a tiny library they've dubbed Gnome Hall. It's part of the growing "Little Free Library" movement, in which citizens install small, homemade structures, asking people to "take a book, leave a book."
The girls installed Gnome Hall on the patio outside the Bourgeois Pig, 738 W. Fullerton Pkwy., Saturday morning as place to bring the community together and share books, the two said.
"At our school we have a little library kinda like [this one] but smaller, where we put children's books. We thought, 'Why don't we build something bigger that's better, why don't we add to our community and build a better one than the one at our school?'" Sophia said.
The girls began working towards the Bronze Award, the highest award a junior Girl Scout can receive, back when they were in fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary School, 615 W. Kemper Pl. The award teaches girls how to be contributing members of their community, said Sophia's mother Colleen Day, who also serves as a Troop Leader.
The charming little library was no easy task for the girls, who racked up about 60 to 70 hours at their neighbor Tom Hall's basement carpentry shop, where they served as apprentices. Hall, member of local nonoprofit Lincoln Park Village, helped the girls design and build the library with its green-shingled roof and bright red door.
"It was a good experience to do with my friend. We had fun and made a lot of friends," Sophia said.
Though it was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun, the girls said. And their favorite part: the power tools.
"The best part was when we used the giant nail gun and shot the long nails," said Sophia, pantomiming the length of the nails.
"Using the tools and finishing," said Olivia, correcting Sophia with a laugh.
Both the girls love to read "depending on the book" and since they both live nearby, they plan to use the library as often as they can and hopefully encourage some of their classmates to stop by, Olivia said.
"It can help the community bond together and it gives the community a new source for books," Olivia said.
Kristen Hunt, manager of the Bourgeois Pig, agreed with the girls that Gnome Hall found the perfect new home at the literature-themed cafe. Many of the sandwiches at the shop are named after famous books, such as "The Great Gatsby," "The Sun Also Rises," and "East of Eden."
"I think it's beautiful aesthetically and it fits well. We're a literary cafe. We're artsy, so it's great and gives us a new way to interact with the community," Hunt said. "The community that we have here are students and artists. Everyone's excited to have this new addition."
The cafe was extremely excited when the girls reached out to them with idea, Hunt said.
"It was nice for them to think of us," Hunt said. "I think it's going to be amazing. In the summer our patio is always packed. [Now] It's going to blow up."
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