Harrison County

This six-year-old makes a big difference with little idea

GULFPORT -- Six-year-old Brooklyn Walker had a very good, exciting, really fun day.

She got to check out early from Bayou View Elementary School (Great!). She sat through 20 minutes of a Gulfport City Council meeting (not so fun). And a councilman in a suit (Rusty Walker) thanked her for setting up a little free library in Bayou View Park. The mayor (Billy Hewes) signed a resolution in her honor, people took pictures and a roomful of adults clapped (a little overwhelming).

Brooklyn and her mom, Kristen Walker, decided they wanted to start a little free library after seeing the idea on the Disney Channel. A few weeks ago, the family went for it. Brooklyn's dad, Michael Walker, and grandfather built a large wooden cabinet with a hinged glass door. Brooklyn, or B.K., as her family calls her, picked the paint colors -- blue and orange for the Bayou View Vikings and Gulfport High Admirals.

The Walkers mounted the cabinet on a post inside the fenced playground. When it rained and the children got their feet wet using the library, another Bayou View resident filled in the sunken spot with some dirt, then installed pavers on top.

After Brooklyn finished at the council meeting Tuesday afternoon, she stopped by the park with her parents. She went straight to her little library, which was filled with books. The community has added to the original collection. The Gulfport council even donated several books Tuesday.

Mayor Hewes told Brooklyn the little free library was such a great idea, the Mayor's Youth Council plans to pick up the project and put free little libraries in other city parks.

"It's amazing how the community's come together," Kristen Walker said. "We love the park."

It's a good thing, because Brooklyn frequently asks to check on her library.

"That's her job now," her mom said.