Neighbors come together to bring library, AED to their street

It took an idea, some dedication and the expertise and commitment of an entire block of neighbors, but earlier this month, 63rd Avenue West in Lynnwood got a couple of new amenities.

About halfway down the cul-de-sac, a new Little Free Library now stands. A couple of doors down, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is now available for anyone in the neighborhood to use.

Wally Webster, who lives on the street, began speaking to his neighbors last year about doing something in the neighborhood after he heard about the City of Lynnwood’s Love your Block grants. The entire neighborhood began pitching ideas.

“After talking to the neighbors, these two projects rose to the top,” Webster said. “We tried to leverage everybody’s input.”

They successfully submitted a grant application, receiving $500 toward the project from the City of Lynnwood. That money helped kick start the projects, Webster said, and the neighborhood took it from there.

“Once we made a commitment to do this, everyone put up the money and time to get it done,” Webster said.

A neighbor down the road was a good builder, so he constructed the Little Free Library. A different neighbor is more artistic, so she painted the design on the library.

“I was inspired by books that I knew would resonate with people,” Katie Childs, the painter, said. The library’s design includes images of Hogwarts from Harry Potter, the web from Charlotte’s Web, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins and many others.

The painted library was first unveiled to the neighborhood on Sunday, April 2. On the top, it is labelled the “Wallyhood Library,” in honor of the neighbor who kickstarted the project.

That day was also the first time Brian Faris taught his neighbors how to use the AED that is now available outside his house.

“It’s nice to know there’s one here for anyone who needs it,” he said.

Faris pitched the idea for a public AED in the neighborhood because of his previous work with Heartstream, one of the first companies to make defibrillators compact and easy to use, even for those who are not medical professionals. He said he already has one in his house and one in his car, but he is happy to also have one outside for his neighbors.

When it warms up outside, the neighborhood also plans to have a CPR training course and more detailed AED training.

The Love your Block grant application for 2017 is now open. Click here for more information or to apply for a grant.

–Story and photos by Natalie Covate

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