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'They're just being mean'; Local Girl Scouts' library project set on fire overnight

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

'They're just being mean'; Local Girl Scouts' library project set on fire overnight

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Mar 21, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Kids were helping kids. They were passing on a love of reading.

Friday morning, their efforts literally went up in flames.
 
Those pink and purple, re-purposed newspaper bins are called 'Little Libraries'.
 
They are set up, painted and maintained by local Girl Scouts.  The children's books inside, roughly 50 of them, were donated by local families and Bookmans stores.
 
That day, someone decided it would be fun to set them on fire.
 
"Reading is really important, and we worked really hard on these," said 7 year-old Anna Twilling.
 
It was the kind of project her troop, Troop 4, had searched for.
 
"You could learn in a book," said 5 year-old Sadie Twilling.
 
The national movement is called 'Little Library'.
 
Simply, you take a book.  You leave a book.
 
For about a month it ran beautifully on the honor system, a sad irony now.
 
9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa asked Sadie, "How do you feel about someone coming and setting these on fire?"
 
"Sad," she said.  
 
"Why do you feel sad?" asked Vespa.
 
"Because it's not nice to do," said Sadie.
 
"I guess they don't like reading and learning," added Anna.
 
Neighbors and passersby spotted the fire around 6:00 Friday morning.
 
"I ran to get water," said Yvonne Dewey.  "And he also had a shovel so he was digging the books out of the container and putting them on the ground."
 
They worked knowing kids love these books, including one little girl, who walked blocks Friday afternoon to return one but couldn't.
 
Parents say explaining this was difficult.
 
"It scares them," said troop leader Shannon Twilling.  "Now they're worried about people lighting their school on fire, lighting our house on fire.  They're little kids."
 
By the time our 9OYS crew got there, they'd had time to process it.
 
"They're just being mean and making children feel bad about themselves," said Anna.  "Why do they even do this?"
 
These are the same girls 9OYS talked to in January about new safety measures put in place, after someone took to stealing cookie money last year.
 
9OYS spoke to Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona CEO Debbie Rich about this latest event.  She said, "I feel very bad for our girls as they worked hard to understand the needs of their community and developed and built the library to try to make their community stronger.  This is hard to understand, but I know it will give the girls greater resolve to make the world a better place."
 
The members of Troop 4 plan to bounce back, bigger and better than before.
 
To help restock the new Little Libraries, you will soon be able to donate books at the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona headquarters, located at 4300 E. Broadway.