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How Heroic Jacobs Operators Rebuilt Their Little Free Library

Fire recently destroyed the Little Free Library at our Carol Stream project site, but our team’s spirit and sense of community burned bright as they rebuilt this neighborhood treasure stronger and better.

You may have seen them in your neighborhood – those cabinets where people can take books they’ve read, or never got around to reading, and trade them for other books. The Little Free Library movement is 100,000 strong worldwide, and seeks to build community, spark creativity and inspire readers. Well, one of our Little Free Libraries recently became its own story about rising from the ashes.

Original Little Free Library
Original Little Free Library built by our team in Carol Stream, Illinois

A few years ago, led by Assistant Project Manager Andy Warmus, our community-minded Jacobs operators at the Village of Carol Stream, Illinois joined the movement and built a Little Free Library on the property of the Village’s Water Reclamation Center (WRC.) We’ve been running Carol Stream’s WRC for more than two decades, and we’re always looking for ways to connect with the residents we serve.

Neighbors enjoyed sharing books and the library was a hit. That is, until one day in early October when our sweet little library somehow burned to the ground. We don’t know quite how that happened, but the important thing, as in all stories, is what happened next.

Not to be discouraged by the charred books and smoldering remnants, our Jacobs team set about rebuilding the library better and stronger. Operations and maintenance pros Chad Askeland from Carol Stream and Rich Lang, who works at our nearby West Chicago location, fired up the cutting torch and arc welder, and converted an old electrical cabinet into a new library. The steel cabinet is more fire-resistant, and features the Jacobs’ “J-mark” on the door. Even better, it has lights.

New Little Free Library
The new and improved Little Free Library, complete with our "J-mark"

Carol Stream Project Manager Nick Lenzi told WBBM News Radio – “Hats off to the guys here on my team, who really wanted to not just re-do (the library), but re-do it in a way that proves that we care about the value that it brings to people.”

The villagers of Carol Stream have their literary treasure trove back, stronger and better than before. And so far, everyone’s living happily ever after.

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