Skip to content

Local Girl Scout built Little Free Library for veteran’s village

She hopes the books help build community
Zelda Stebbins, a Girl Scout , unveils free library at Veterans Community Project Veterans Village

On a brisk Thursday afternoon, amidst the quiet hum of friends and family, Zelda Stebbins, a determined and driven Girl Scout, gave a heartwarming speech on the importance of giving back as she unveiled her carefully constructed box at the veteran’s tiny home village. 

It wasn’t a box for Girl Scout cookies, but a Little Free Library, demonstrating that the Girl Scouts stand for more than just cookies and the Veterans Community Project, VCP, extends beyond housing homeless veterans.

“When I first learned about the Veterans Community Project, I knew this was an opportunity for me to give back not only to the community but also to veterans,” Stebbins said. “Libraries, even tiny ones like this one, help create and strengthen community… a library can be the glue that holds the community together.”

Before the unveiling, the frozen, rocky Colorado earth posed a formidable challenge for VCP volunteers, but their resolve remained unwavering. Armed with pickaxes and post-hole diggers, they stood resilient against the tough ground with their sleeves rolled up as they broke through the earth. 

The ground, unyielding as it was, couldn’t deter their efforts as they maneuvered, sometimes wrestling small boulders from the dirt’s steadfast grip, inch by inch, making way for the wooden post that would soon support a book beacon box of community and generosity.

This endeavor has also been a labor of love for Stebbins, who has devoted several months to this initiative. With the guidance of an adult mentor, she meticulously crafted a wooden box, each plank infused with her passion for literacy and community, and a desire to give back to those who’ve served their country.

“She presented a full proposal on why a tiny library is beneficial for the village … and she made it as true to the village as she could,” said Melissa Gruber, the director of development at VCP. “We were blown away by her presentation, the thoroughness. She had a whole PowerPoint presentation that she walked us through, answered our questions and had a full timeline of when this would be completed.”

Gruber highlighted Stebbins’s attention to detail, mentioning how she matched the wooden library’s colors to those of the American flag and incorporated the VCP chevron military design on the front.

“There’s just so much out there, whether it’s fiction or fantasy, building life skills. There are so many resources that will help our veterans overcome their barriers, work towards their goals and build community,” Gruber said.

Books that were already gathered by Stebbins will be joined by more contributions, as the aim is for people in the community to put books in that they would like to share. There won’t be filtering or screening of these donations, but rather an open invitation for community members to freely share what they enjoy.

“I also wanted this library to cultivate generosity within the community. People can check out a book, share it with others, talk about the stories they read and share their thoughts,” Stebbins said. “It can build commonality between residents. I hope these books can expand horizons, open minds and maybe inspire.”

Stebbins’s motivation stemmed from being raised in a military family with her father being a veteran and witnessing her mother’s support for veterans through quilt making. Stebbins wanted to forge her unique path and was compelled to leave a meaningful impact.

After thanking those who had gotten her this far, Stebbins unveiled the wooden box, adorned with a tiny metal plate on the back bearing her name and Girl Scout troop, revealing the culmination of months of dedication and passion.