DETROIT – Madalyn Szilagy was a voracious reader who devoured books for as long as her parents remember. But her reading life was cut short in 2010 when she died of cancer at the age of eight.
To honor her love of reading, Madalyn’s father, Detroit Police Capt. Darin Szilagy, put up a Little Free Library last year in her memory inside the 3rd precinct of the Detroit Police Department.
On Friday, Szilagy is spearheading an effort to put up a Little Free Library in front of all of the police department’s 13 precincts. With the help of Police Chief James Craig, they hope to raise money from the community to put up the libraries.
Also helping Detroit police will be the founder of the worldwide Little Free Library movement, Todd Bol, who will be traveling to Detroit from Wisconsin on Friday to give Detroit police three Little Free Libraries.
Bol, whose grandfather was a police chief, said that law enforcement that offer reading materials are providing neighborhoods with another weapon to fight crime.
“Research by the Department of Justice shows that low literacy is strongly connected to crime and delinquency,” said Bol. “By providing book access, police officers help stop delinquency issues before they start.”
The Little Free Library is part of the take a book, leave a book movement that brings books closer to communities through the Little Free Library, an inexpensive vehicle anyone can make.
The libraries also foster a pay-it-forward mentality and act as a mini town square for residents to gather around, share stories about books they are reading — but also stories about their lives.