Popular Mayfair library feature damaged by vandal

A vandal smashed through the door of the Free Little Library at Mayfair Memorial Playground sometime between June 11 and 14.

Vandalism reported: A little library at Mayfair Memorial Playground was damaged after someone smashed the door of the converted newspaper honor box. Volunteers at Mayfair Memorial Playground posted a photo of the damage on their social media pages. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

A callous visitor made an unwanted donation to the “free little library” at Mayfair Memorial Playground early last week. It was his fist, or maybe his foot.

In any case, the vandal used some form of force to smash through the door of the converted newspaper honor box sometime between June 11 and 14, leaving local young playground-goers without a popular summer reading resource.

Dana Lambie, who co-chairs the nonprofit committee that created and maintains the playground at 7444 Rowland Ave., discovered the damage last Wednesday evening when she went to lock up the site’s security gate. She had just finished participating in the Mayfair Flag Day walk, an event celebrating the American flags that hang from utility poles along Rowland Avenue.

Less than a month ago, two Girl Scouts, Delaney Hampton and Elizabeth McWilliams, crafted and installed the little library in the playground as part of their Silver Award project. The girls painted the old newspaper box with a happy face and packed it with donated children’s books. Kids were encouraged to borrow books from the box on condition that they be returned.

Girl Scouts Delaney Hampton and Elizabeth McWilliams created the Little Library for Mayfair Memorial Playground. FILE PHOTO.

“I was mad because there were two teenage girls who worked very hard on that project,” Lambie said. “And it’s another example of someone having no consideration for someone else’s hard work. It’s sad and it’s frustrating.”

The playground has been vandalized before. Initially, the committee installed a four-foot perimeter fence, but that proved too easy for trespassers to overcome. So the committee raised money to buy and install an eight-foot fence.

Typically, the playground is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Volunteers lock and unlock the gates.

Lambie had last visited the site on the Sunday evening before she found the vandalism. She checked on the little library then and saw that the books had been shuffled around a bit. That was good news.

“The books were definitely being used,” she said. “Books are going home. The number of books has gone down, and you can definitely tell that kids are in there looking around.”

Despite the vandalism, the playground continues to accept book donations on-site. Folks wishing to donate money can go to mayfairmemorialplayground.com

In the coming weeks, the playground organizers expect to accept delivery and installation of several new pieces of play equipment. They also plan to repair the little library. And they hope neighbors will help them keep an eye on the place.

“We have to depend on the neighborhood, and other people who use the playground, to keep their eyes open and to step up and say something,” Lambie said. ••

William Kenny can be reached at 215–354–3031 or wkenny@bsmphilly.com. Follow the Times on Twitter @NETimesOfficial.