Marshalltown Fire in Free Little Library Will Not Stop Reading Outreach

Lead Pastor, Rev. Nan Smith of Hope United Methodist Church stands by a burned Free Little Library by her church. (Roger Riley WHO-HD)

Lead Pastor, Rev. Nan Smith of Hope United Methodist Church stands by a burned Free Little Library by her church. (Roger Riley WHO-HD)

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa- The Marshalltown Fire Department was called a to a small fire late last Thursday at the Hope United Methodist Church at 2202 South 3rd Avenue. Lead Pastor, Rev. Nan Smith was inside the church discussing an upcoming wedding there.

“All of a sudden somebody came into the church going hello is somebody here?” said Smith. “Turned out it was the fire department and they had responded to a 911 call Free Little Library was on fire.”

No one knows who set the fire, or why.

“We prayed for that individual at our service Sunday,” said Smith. She added they hope this person finds a better way to express them self.

The Little Library is not just a trendy thing in front of the church. Hope United Methodist has a reading outreach to the kids of the neighborhood on Marshalltown’s east side.

“The United Methodist conference has started and initiative called Change a Child’s Story with the ideas is that if a child is not reading by grade level in third grade they will be problems in life,” said Smith. “To address that problem we’ve decided to give away free books.”

Smith said Hope United Methodist hopes to give away 1200 books to kids in the area.

The Church is taking donations of new books only, for kids preschool to 3rd grade.

The Free Little Library was built by a volunteer, Conrad Dejardin, of Marshalltown, who is not even a member of Hope United Methodist. Dejardin has told the church he will build another Free Little Library to take the place of the one which burned.