The Redmond Police Department became one of 100 police departments to sponsor a Little Free Library in a national campaign to promote literacy and connect communities.
RPD unveiled the Little Free Library at the Redmond Community Center on July 25 during a community event where Mayor John Marchione and RPD officers read aloud to local children. The library is a book exchange nonprofit that aims to inspire a love of reading a build up communities.
“We want to meet and connect with people of all ages in our community, it is so important to begin building strong relationships with young people,” Redmond Police Captain Ron Harding said. “We want kids to know that they can trust our officers and that we are here to help them.”
The library itself is a small wooden box that contains numerous books which locals can exchange. Brick and Mortar Books, a local community book store, donated many of the books that initially stocked the Redmond library.
RPD sponsored the little library as part of the Kids, Community and Cops program, a national program that aims to connect kids and cops through book sharing.
The library also aims to improve low literacy rates as illiteracy can be linked to delinquent behavior according to a Department of Justice research. The DOJ reports that this research provides “ample evidence of the link between academic failure and delinquency” and that the “link is welded to reading failure.”
Marchione opened the event by reading “Hop on Pop” aloud to the more than 50 parents and children who came and went throughout the event.
Officer Bob Peterson read “How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe?” Sergeant Julie Beard read “Officer Buckle and Gloria”, two books that focus on general safety and help children connect with police officers.
Children were also able to meet with one of RPD’s K9 units, Officer Dan Smith and his partner, Remy.
“Literacy is such an integral skill in any career, including police work,” Captain Ron Harding said. “We hope that we met some of our future officers here today and showed them that being a police officer takes professionalism and a high level of education. As Redmond continues to grow we want our department to reflect our diverse community.”
Harding added that the story time and other similar events are important because they allow parents and their children to ask police questions and have a friendly conversation in a relaxed environment. He added that they want to engage with citizens outside of negative experiences like being pulled over or during an emergency.
“They really do want to help,” said Public Information Officer Andrea Wolf-Buck, who organized the event and brought the library to Redmond. “They want to be available, they don’t want people to be afraid of them and they want people to know, especially children, that if they need help, you should be able to trust a police officer.”