Family asks for public’s help in finding the vandals that set their little library on fire

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WEST HARTFORD – One family is asking for the public’s help after their little library was set on fire Tuesday night.

It was built by a father and his two young daughters, Hannah and Olivia. Its purpose was to connect with the community through a fun and educational way. Built about a year ago, it is perched on the front yard of the home on Whitman Avenue.

“A lot of folks just stop by and drop books off all the time,” said Bryan Bywater of West Hartford.

Bywater said people will visit the library at least two to three times each day and they would take books out or put books in. One of those visitors is David Lynch who lives across from Bywater.

“It brings the community together and there are good books in there!”

However, it was around 9:30 to 10 p.m., Tuesday when Bywater said he heard voices out on his front yard.

“I sprang out of bed, ran to the window and looked out and saw and heard a bunch of kids go up the street and there was one that was back behind,” added Bywater.

He said he saw about half a dozen teenagers riding BMX bikes. The next morning, he opened the library only to find several of the books damaged. One of the books was completely torched.

“When I looked in, it was caked with mud. All the books in front were looking like a mess,” added Bywater.

“Living on this block for 28 years, we’ve never had anything like that happen before,” added Lynch.

Instead of being angry, Bywater said he understands because he was once a teenager.

“This is a little library. A little book. Not a big deal,” added Bywater.

In fact, he said he would like to invite the teens over to his home to put some books in the library and do some community service.

A police report was filed and there is still a search for the teens who are responsible. Police said if you heard or saw anything, you are urged to reach out to them immediately.