Awakin Calls » Rick Brooks » Transcript
Rick Brooks: Building Community Through Free Little Libraries
Guest: Rick Brooks
Host: Preeta Bansal
Moderator: Aryae Coopersmith
Preeta: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, depending on where you are in the world. My name is Preeta and I'm really excited to your host for our weekly global Awakin Call. Welcome and thank you so much for joining us. Every story is the beginning of a conversation whether it's with ourselves or with others. Across time and culture, stories have been agents of personal transformation. In part because they have the power to change our hearts and our minds. The purpose of these weekly Awakin calls is to share stories from amazing changemakers from around the globe. Through guided conversations with them our special guest speakers share their personal stories and inspire us through their actions, their experiences, and their incites. Our hope is that these conversations will plant seeds for a more compassionate and service oriented society. While serving to foster our own inner transformation. Behind each of these calls is an entire team of Service Space volunteers. (pause) Thank you. Welcome again to our weekly Awakin call.
Today we are in conversation with Rick Brooks. In just a few minutes our remarkable moderator, Aryae Coopersmith will engage in a dialogue with our guest Rock Brooks. And by the top of the hour we'll roll into a period of participant reflections, questions, and circle of sharing where we invite all of your questions and reflections.
We've opened up the que already so at any point you can hit *6 on your phone and you'll be prompted when it's your turn to speak. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can also enter a question via web form if you are listening via our live webcast.
This week's theme is about building community, in part from Free Little Libraries, which is Rick Brooks remarkable creation. Our guest this week started a global movement to create simple gift based book exchanges in localities throughout the world. His view is that community is built when we share with others that which gives us meaning and a sense of belonging and that which matters to us.
We have the great pleasure of having Aryae as our moderator today. For those of who don't know Aryae, Aryae is actually been involved for many years now in building local community in his town, Half Moon Bay, California and he's also had a remarkable career as a human resources professional in Silicon Valley before that. Aryae, thank you so much for joining us.
Aryae: Thank you so much Preeta. So, I'd like to introduce Rick Brooks and we'll get started. Rick is a dedicated community builder. Who's initiated numerous community based projects and experiments. Including co-founding the Little Free Library Project. A movement that spawned over 60,000 registered Little Free Libraries all over the US and across 80 countries around the world in the last six years or so. Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood gift based book exchanges around the world.
Millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing the access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds and fostering a spirit of gift. According to Rick, "Little Free Library movement developed after I saw a box of free books in the form of a one room school house in Wisconsin. It was my conviction that such a small object could carry a good deal of social freight, so to speak. By focusing on generosity, sharing, mutual support, and grass roots efforts we could facilitate connections among neighbors and demographic groups that seem to live near each other without really knowing how they could nourish a sense of community. Little boxes of our favorite books seem to be able to make a difference" Rick says. "They offer us an excuse to get to know each other by sharing what we love." Obviously this is all about something more than just books. There are these so called boxes of books that have stimulated all kinds of practical attempts to nurture each other, such as Little Free Pantries, neighborhood gift and blessing boxes, Little Free Art Galleries, rest stops for a daily strolls and bike rides, etc, etc.
Rick has dedicated his life to community building. Until age 12 he lived in Wichita Kansas. His experiential education began after that when his family moved to south India. It continued in Peru, Mexico, Tunisia, Jamaica and Sri Lanka as well as the US. Vocationally he started as a teacher of English in Peru, worked as a park ranger while a Deloit college student of anthropology. From 1969 his career path saw him as a childcare worker, hospital housekeeper, hospital administrator, newspaper reporter, editor and publisher, youth services director and then marketer and outreach program manager of continuing studies for the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 26 years. Wow!
As a teacher he served in K-12, afterschool programs and 2-4 colleges and continuing studies programs. Rick also co-founded two youth communications centers, a network of youth newspapers, a center for social marketing, a community food and gardening network a local independent business alliance, time bank, and eventually the Little Free Library movement. He's also been active in the US and abroad with the Sarvodaya Shramanda Movement of Sri Lanka and Nepal. And served as a Board member for 30 nonprofit organizations. From the statewide food program, and positive youth development initiative. To literacy, microfinance, sustainability, and human service groups. He and his wife Sara now live in rural Princeton Illinois were he helps start a regional small business development center. And You Are Here, which facilitates community based arts and civic engagement projects. With all of that, Rick, I'm so glad you have time to be with us today and welcome to our call.
Rick: Well thanks, I'm glad to be with you. One quick thing Aryae the operative word is co-founder in all of those, especially with Little Free Libraries. I was certainly in on the creation of the movement but my co-founder Todd Bols is at and still working at it. And there was two of us that started it and a core group of really wonderful colleagues and then thousands of Little Library stewards to share the credit.
Aryae: Cofounder and shared credit it is. Thank you for pointing that out. You know in our conversation today, I'd like to start with the Little Free Library Movement. Can you share with us the story of how that got started?
Rick: I was doing workshops on green business practices for a small business. It's part of my University of Wisconsin work. And one of the attendees at a session of that in Hudson Wisconsin, Todd Bol. He and I sort of caught each others attention and began discussing a number of social entrepreneurship projects. The one that I thought was catching hold was around this little box of books he had built in front of his own front yard. His neighbors seemed to love him and they wanted some and it was easy to promote. It took us about a year after we started discussing it to have it catch on. My job really was to help that idea, that little idea find homes and boy that happen quickly after we got going.
Aryae: So this whole thing started with a single box of books in Todd’s front yard.
Rick: In memory of his mother, who was a teacher, it was a kind of memorial to her. She loved reading her books. I will say there are other examples of Little Free Library like things. Those of you who live near or heard about Portland Oregon there were some similar projects there. I just discovered something in Germany, saw an internet post about Guttersmoths, I think I'm pronouncing that right. There some 3000 public, little, their library boxes, like produce size. So their are similar things all over the world. What we found was that as we began promoting them, the sense of stewardship. Each box needs somebody to care for it and love it essentially and make sure that the books are appropriate for the neighborhood and there are plenty of books there and they're in older and they're good books. And the concept and philosophy is really based on neighborliness, generosity and sharing. That really makes a tremendous difference.
Aryae: Ok, well that's an important piece then. That you need somebody there who is actively involved in making sure that the books are good books for the neighborhood. So what happened next? How did it grow from one box to lots of boxes?
Rick: Well, we, Todd built several more and we gave them to his neighbors in Hudson and we brought one down to Madison which is a totally different setting. We put it by the bike path on the way to work and thousands of people saw it. We had a welcoming art gallery that wanted and in very short order people wanted them. And I know exactly, the first 100 to 150 of em, Todd and I either built or installed all of them. So this stories that began there really generated, um we got on public radio, we were in the local newspaper, beautiful feature story. We ended up on NBC Nightly News within a couple of months. It caught on.
Our goals were originally to build 2,510 because that's how many Andrew Carnegie endowed. A year and a half ahead of that one and each time we set new goals we dreamed as well as tried to figure out how in the world we were going to do that. The official count now is 60,000 or so officially registered with the Little Free Library location on the map, a registration number. We support each other. My educated guess there's been 100-125,000 things, Little Free Library like things. In Vietnam they are called Book Boxes and in other places they have all kinds of other names. Even now, in Madison there's more than 400 registered Little Libraries. And many other ones that don't have the same name and aren't on the map, people just love the idea. I would say, for every one that's registered, it's my guess, and this is not official, that's there's at least 1 more and probably a lot more than that.
Aryae: It sounds like the first group of boxes were a kind of local there in Wisconsin. And I guess my question would be then, how did that next step occur where people in other areas started doing the same thing.
Rick: Two good reasons, one is the more that we had the more interest it generated. So each time we gave one away people saw them and said, "well that's neat where can I get one?". In the beginning we made them all. Todd made them all and then we had an Amish carpenter we used his barn with and he helped us with the demand. But, we got very good publicity and we essentially educated, each time someone said, "How can I do it?", we said, "Well, talk to your neighbors and find out if they would support it. Invite them when you have the library set up, or put in the ground in front of your house, or your business, or your school, or some other location, make sure that everybody knows that we are all stewards of it".
So that really was it. We sort of trained people who built or hosted Little Libraries to know how to reach out to their neighbors and we still do that. I'm officially retired from the organization but I can't resist, you know, pointing to the Little Libraries. Here in Princeton there's about 20 and I barely mentioned it here. So it's people want to share the good news. I will tell you, we seem to hit the right button because we started this officially in 2010 and there still between 5-10 stories in the media everyday, everyday. Yeah and they are from all over the world. I remember, my favorite week, was we were in the Times of India, The New York Times, the Sustainable Times newspaper in Madison, and a couple of other Times and it was just fantastic. But, many of the stories that I cherish are from small town newspapers and newsletters and Facebook posts. There's probably, 500 to 750 or even 1000 Facebook pages that are hosted by Little Free Library stewards in their own community. So, it's people get one, they love it, they take care of it, they want to tell people about it and it shows up in the newspaper or on TV pretty quickly.
Aryae: It's interesting that, sort of the physical aspect of this, that you and Todd initially, and now I'm sure others, actually would build the boxes. What is it about building the boxes? Isn't a pretty simple idea? Couldn't anyone build their own box? Why was building the boxes such an important part of this?
Rick: Um, several things. One is, if you've never seen anything like this before you wonder what it is. To see it and watch a child, or someone, walk up and take a book out or put a book, that is the act. Being witness is really important. This applies to almost everything that Service Space deals with and Daily Good. Its do good work, I think, but also to be witnessed doing it. Then I would say secondly, building your own box or hosting, reinforces the notion that you have a stake in it, that you will watch out for, we all will watch out for it together. And, in probably 99% of the cases, that common bond, from around that thing, that contains things that you love and cherish, that's a pretty remarkable thing to witness also.
Aryae: From what I've observed from the website, if I were, wherever I live, want to start a Little Free LIbrary in my neighborhood, it looks like what I can do is order a box on the website and then register myself. So, I'm not only doing it locally but then I become part of a the global network. Is that right?
Rick: You bet. I will say Girl Scouts are very active in this. 4-H Clubs and Boy Scouts and Rotary clubs and Kiwanis clubs and schools. Official library systems, grown up libraries support the systems. There was a Girl Scout group that committed to build a 100 this year. The very first year we had a Rotary Club in Fort Wayne Indiana that built a 100. There were 50 in Ghana and probably more than 100 in Ukraine. Anybody, anywhere can do this. And, anybody, anywhere can put a book in or take a book out. And that's the remarkable thing. It's very free flowing. In the beginning people weren't quite sure because they were called, Little Free Libraries, "well do we need to check them out or is there a deadline or a fine?" And we sort of had to reteach people that with common respect and concern and care and thoughtfulness and knowing your neighbor this is going to work and it can work pretty well.
Aryae: Yeah, amazing. Hey, so Rick, I want to do a little detour here and talk about your life and how you got to this point. And, one of the things that really strikes me about your story is that at a young age your family left Wichita, Kansas and started a life where you were living in countries all around the world. Can you tell us a little bit about your family and how that got started?
Rick: Sure. My Dad was a plastic surgeon, a doctor. And my mother had graduate education in microbiology. We lived in Kansas. My dad was pretty much working all the time. We had a very nice life. Judged by American, white suburban standards. We were very privileged in many ways. I'm not quite sure why but my father was a great reader of the Saturday review and Norman Cousins, way back then. There came a time and looked at their kids and said, you know, they seem to want to all have cars and belong to a country club and do all the typical American things but they've never seen how the rest of the world lives.
They need to know that there is a world beyond the material things that we're used to. We had a suburban house and a swimming pool in the backyard, but they said "we want our children to see how the rest of the world lives". So my father got a Fulbright (https://www.cies.org/about-us/what-fulbright) and 3 sisters and I went to India, my second oldest sister stayed in Wichita in college. Two sisters and I went to missionary school. My father and mother lived leprosy sanatorium and he did surgery and they work with people who had leprosy. We spent about half a year in India and then we came back to Wichita. And spent another year in Peru, on the land based Project Hope where my father taught at a medical school, and it sort of went from there. But I will say that the India experience, for every reason you can imagine, changed all of our lives profoundly. It had the very results that I think my parents intended, which is see how the rest of the world lives and realize that we are not the center of all things. We can learn, share, give and appreciate. And in some ways suffer, maybe witness suffering, and know that we have a place in the world and a role to play making it a better place.
Aryae: That is amazing that your parents wanted to do that. I grew up a privileged white suburban America around the same time you did, Rick. And most of my family and my friends what our parents wanted is to try to get us into Harvard or wherever so we could continue our privilege and what a remarkable decision that your parents made.
Rick: I have four amazing sisters. They all have Graduate educations. I've taught in Graduate school but I have a Bachelor's degree and that's all. But I think we all learned from that experience. One was in the Peace Corps, one lived in Kenya, one has been in Haiti, Nicaragua, Mexico, all over the world in service. Once you become aware of the circumstances that, not only people but living thing, are experiencing, I don't know how you can just sort of go on and concentrate totally on your career and earning money and power. This change in our thinking, in a way of perceiving our role in the world is pretty profound.
Aryae: Could you share maybe a story or two about what it was like for you as a young person, as a teenager, living in another country. And what did you learn, what was surprising, what kind of lessons did you have to learn?
Rick: Well, there's a million stories! I remember I was with my son and my wife in India some 15 years ago. We walked down the pathway between Kodaikanal International School in the mountains and and the local market. There was a beggar there and he wanted to read our palms. He read my son's palm. He said "you're a very lucky boy. Very lucky boy. Your mummy and daddy love you very much". And my son really smiled and he thought that's ____? The beggar said you're going to be a doctor or a lawyer, a very important man. And he smiled again and finally he said "but you are lazy".
But my son turns out is probably one of the most generous thoughtful people you might ever meet . I think that little episode is an example of even in our privilege that we had chosen to be there, we chose to go to school. When I got very very sick with hepatitis, we were able to have doctors to take care of us. Experiencing how other people actually live, and the courage that they have to deal with their own lives in their own context, it's absolutely life changing, if you are open to that. In my case I will say my experiences with Sarvodaya Movement Sri Lanka (http://www.sarvodaya.org/) and interestingly enough, working with people with severe developmental disability, those were learning experiences that I would not have had, and would not have learned from, if basically the experience in South India and Peru and other countries hadn't opened up my eyes and my brain and my heart to see them and know that there's more to life than just me.
Aryae: Well you mentioned the Sarvodaya Movement and that's a big part of your life story and your spiritual path. Can tell us a little bit about Sarvodaya Movement & how did it get started? And how did you get involved?
I have undergraduate degree in Anthropology in Education. And I was doing a lot of community organizing work, came across an article by Joanna Macy in The Next Whole Earth Catalog. It was about the word "Shramadana". A practice that can happen anywhere, it was close to the actual title. It was about a work camp held in a village in Sri Lanka. I was intrigued by how successful you could be if you help people recognize number one - they're aware of the problems, but they're also aware of the strengths that they have if they live and work together. And the Sarvodaya movement, it turns out, was started in Sri Lanka in 1958 by a high school teacher who did just that.
Almost in a microcosm did what my parents did. He talks of fairly well to do high school students and said - you need to live with poor people for a while and see how they live, and see what keeps them going, and helps them be resilient. I became aware of it in that article, but I couldn't find anybody the United States who knew anything about it. I went to Washington D.C. and walked from International non-government organization to another. Walked in the front door and said "Have you ever heard of this Shramadana thing or Sarvodaya thing?". Finally I discover someone at the Points of Light Foundation (http://www.pointsoflight.org/), they gave me an address. I wrote to the founder Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne in Sri Lanka and said "This is fascinating, the way you organized poor people who have very little sense of power about what they can do to make their own life better and they're just dealing with basic human needs every day". By the time I got to him, Sarvodaya active in thousands of villages. They had built eventually 6000 pre-schools, 5000 villages banks, they were the largest builder. The villages themselves, they were self-governed villages based on Gandhian and Buddhist values and the Sri Lankan traditions. It was the most elegant empowerment grassroots empowerment movement I have ever seen. I felt that in the beginning and I've taken five groups of students to visit and we spent three weeks there. You have to see it and experience it and learn about it. It's not perfect by any means. But if you know about Grameen Bank and any successful organizing enterprise, Sarvodaya has to be right up there at the top of the right holistic oriented way to organize people to think about the individuals, families, communities, countries and the world and all of those things go together.
Aryae: When i hear you talk about Sarvodaya, the principle sounds so universal. This could be anywhere in the world. The question in my mind is why Sri Lanka? What is it about Sri Lanka that has made it such fertile soil for this particular movement?
Rick: Well where's how we get back to what Service Space is about and Daily Good. I would say it happened in Sri Lanka because of Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne.
He stayed our house in Madison once and somebody said "Who is that little man in the white sarong". I said "Ari what do you want me to say in answer to that" and he said "Tell them I am nobody in particular".
It was him and his family and people who were inspired by him and his deep understanding of Buddhism and Hinduism and Gandhi himself. He's often known as the little Gandhi of Sri Lanka and I find that not really fair because Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne is his own man with a history of courage and devotion. His family has bought (?) up his son Vinay who is now essentially the leader, in many ways, of the Sarvodaya movement. He is a brilliant public health physician an organizer, an administrator and peacemaker.
And so in that sense Sri Lanka certainly draws from its own traditions and understanding about India and some of the challenges of Indian culture, particularly the caste system and the conflicts among religions. Emerging from that has turned out to be extremely powerful on going adaptation of values that can sustain people who know that they can make a difference, in themselves. Sarvodaya means the welfare of all. Buddhists say is the awakening of all. When the individual awakens to his or her possibilities and their family possibilities and their village possibilities all kinds of wonderful things can happen.
Aryae: So. So you spent your whole life as a community organizer, and I'm wondering if you can trace some things that you learn from the Sarvodaya movement to how that has influenced the way you've gone about your work as a community organizer. How do you apply those principles that you learned there?
Rick: It's funny. You describe me as a community organizer, and I guess I do that. But yeah, if you look at it think about this ABCD asset based Community Development, John McKnight and his colleagues have developed that's very similar to the approach that Sarvodaya uses. Instead of just identifying problems and barriers and and needs you look at well, what are the strengths in this community?
And there's principle that people identify. Or often individuals, institutions, agencies, clubs, associations what Robert Putnam and others would call third places where people can gather to share common interests. So, you know the Sarvodaya movement if you think about basic principles of Buddhism mainly loving kindness, compassion in action, altruistic joy and equanimity, you know, whatever your religion is, those kinds of principles are very very relevant to getting people together to say, "You know, understanding the culture and the environment we live in is a first step and meeting our basic needs is a first step and as we do that if we start looking out for each other the we are much stronger together."
It's just like in the beginning I talked about being a co-founder of things. One thing I've learned is I'm much better when I have somebody with me working with me. I've had wonderful colleagues and in some cases who had skills that were totally different from mine, which is just a gift and I think that's the case for almost everybody.
I don't know of anyone who isn't made better by...It's an interesting connection with several ideas. The second half of the Sarvodaya name in Sri Lanka is Sarvodaya Shramadana. Dana has the same Indo-European word root as God, to give, to share, and labor. So the meaning of the name is the sharing of labor for the Awakening and Welfare of all and when all else fails, whether you know, we have a lot of money or religion or religious background or power all else fails many times the best we can offer and I mean this in a very genuine way is ourselves, our labor. We work together. We shared our labor and Sharmadana Work Camp is just that. You organize a 50 people to build a road that they never thought they could build.
The second day after people work all day. You get a couple hundred more people and they celebrate every night. And the third night, there's 500 people working together and said look at what we did. We never knew we could do that. And they start a preschooler an early childhood education program and feeding program for babies and and it just goes from there.
So. The sharing of labor is so practical. If you look in the United States their Community built playgrounds, there's any kind of exercise where you have kids for example, look at what's going on now in dealing with school violence. Kids and their families and their teachers are saying we can be a part of this and that is so inspiring to be. I've been in Shramadana camps where woman next to me was in her late 70s or 80s about four feet and a half four and a half feet tall, hands me a bucket, a pan full of mud as we make the road. I hand it to a six-year-old boy. He hands it to a girl and all day the group that started with 50 or a hundred people grows and grows and grows. And they move tons of rocks and everybody says look at what we're doing. This is wonderful. So, you know, it's hard to argue with that.
Aryae: I'm struck with the principal of shared labor of how you described of how it creates a bond between all kinds of people.
Rick: Yea, you know, I tell the story...I have an article that describes how it works. In the light of Buddha and Ghandi 11,000 villages grow, this was before. Now, it's about 15,000, in active movement. It is knowing that, despite our differences, many Sarvodaya villages have Muslims, Buddhists, Christians...um, during the depths of the civil war there were places of peace that were Sarvodaya villages who said despite our differences, if we share our labor, we take of each other, and if we can't agree about nothing else, we can agree about protecting our children.
We'd start with that... working together. That's the strength of the entire process. It is a movement. It's not just a non-government organization. It is often described that way, it's the largest non-government organization in the country. Well , it is, but it's much more than that. It's not like any other private sector organization. Certainly, it has economical development, social development, and spiritual development. Those are all part of the movement. And each person has something to give. I can ramble on this, but I'll tell you that's what got me into Time Banking. We have a Time Banking in Madison that I was involved in helping to start it. It has as many as 2500 people who share their labor and skills and talents doing almost anything that is in the area of care giving and support for each other and no money changes hands. No money changes hands. It's all sharing.
Aryae: Time banking. So, how does it work if I got some time to offer, I go to a website and indicate that I got some time to offer?
Rick: Well, you register and you say I can do the following things. I have the following skills and talents and I'm happy to share them. You list them. And then you find who needs those or they call you. It's kind of like the library. It's all independent. We have 150 people who previously were known because they had disabilities. Now, they are not just on the receiving end. They are giving and receiving.
And hours and hours, I'd say, Richard Rockfeller helped start Time Banking in Maine. His muiti-millionaire hour is worth as much as the hour of the 7 year old boy who walks his dog. And hour and hour, and to be honest, we don't really keep track that tightly about who gives and who receives all those hours. But thousands of hours have been exchanged and we have helped create reentry programs for prisoners getting out of jail. Youth courts...and every school part of the community in Madison now have a youth court where they have kids who get into trouble can not get a juvenile record when they do restitution and study. It's a wonderful restorative justice program.
You can buy, in some of the cases, farmers market products, with Time Bank hours. So, it goes on and on. It's all about the true spirit of sharing, not just labor, but caring. That's one of the things we often forget because we always look at the economic development and state of the economy and stock prices. We forget the things that we actually value more than anything is caring. Particularly in American, caregivers are kind of at the lower end of the pay scale. So, time banking and sharing models and other one that we see in Daily Goods, for example, are really proof, as our free little libraries, that there is more in life than money and acquisition of things. And the things that seem to matter to many, most of us, are non tangible. You can't buy them necessarily. The gift economy is something that not enough people seem to know about.
Aryae: Gift economy is certainly in line with what we try to practice in the service space community.
I want to shift over to one other piece of your story that was really interesting to me and that was how I believe your father originally got involved with the hospital ship- Hope. Can you tell us a little about that?
Rick: We were as I mentioned in the land-based program. The ship had been to North Peru and my father taught at a medical school. My sisters and I went to school there in Spanish by the way and none of us knew Spanish till we got there. So we learned a lot of Spanish but when I went to college I went straight to college from Peru. Never graduated from high school. Just figured I'd go ahead and I took some correspondence courses with Beloit College and when I graduated I wasn't sure what to do. I had applied for a conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War and wanted to do alternative service and I applied to Project Hope the hospital ship Hope which traveled around the world. More in a country for about a year at a time, set up a teaching hospital on a five hundred twenty foot long hospital ship. Hundred and eight-bed hospital.
Aryae: You set up to the teaching hospital?
Rick: Well it was started by a physician in Washington D.C. but a whole crew of people come all over the United States and had a medical staff, had paramedical staff that stayed on the ship in the same ship as the hospital all year and every two months a different group of doctors would come in. Pretty hotshot doctors who were all in the teaching mode and the funny thing is I applied for a cross-cultural researcher job which I invented the title of. They didn't have any of those. They had a hospital housekeeper job so I went anyway and it was in Tunisia. And I supervised thirty six Tunisian employees in hospital housekeeping who were paid whether they came to work or not. None of them spoke English.
I had learned a little bit of French a little bit of Arabic and learned what it's like to be the visitors in a culture that is very very different again from the cultures from which we emerged. We sailed back United States and I became the assistant administrator in public information director in Jamaica when the ship sailed there for a year and learned it from a completely different perspective. We had in each place any of us who are immersed in different culture know that there are highs and lows of the experience and tremendous challenges that deal with intercultural understanding or misunderstanding and there's a wonderful experiences that we will remember all of our lives that the people we come in contact will remember. The idea of a white hospital ship you know the letters Hope on the side of sailing in and treating thousands of people and teaching nurses and physical therapist and radiologists and so on. That's a wonderful concept. Now the ship is no longer around but Project Hope certainly is and has had a major influence on many countries on American United States health policy and that was a transformative experience for me. I was twenty one when I was the system administrator of the hospital ship Hope. And I confess I was way over my head.
Aryae: At the age of 21 and you were supervising all those doctors and medical staff?
Rick: Well I was supervising the doctors there but I was the in-charge of orientation when they came and hosted. We would lead anywhere between five hundred and thousand people on tours of this hundred eight bed working-teaching hospital every weekend. So it was one of those experiences that you won't forget.
Aryae: Wow Amazing. Hey there's a question that is coming that I want to ask you and that is we talked a lot about the Sarvodaya movement. Is there any equivalent that is going on in the U.S. right now?
Rick: The conscious ones I can think about there are a many things in common with Habitat for Humanity. Community built playgrounds. Originally there was an architect named Robert Leathers who helped hundreds of communities raise the money and construct playgrounds that children helped design and now there is a similar group that helps communities build playgrounds. I would say in some ways a little free libraries exemplify those principles but if you look at the Orton Family Foundation's Heart and Soul program for small towns, they're really good example and they're very similar ones. Now in some ways the A.A.R.P. has this where we live has this program about livable communities which engages people in urban and rural communities and making life better for everybody not just older people. So yeah there are lots of examples.
I was on the chair of the board of something called Wisconsin Positive Youth Development Initiative and that's what it was about. We originally started to prevent alcohol and drug abuse but what we realized was we have to give people good reasons for living and caring about each other and having fun and actualizing some of their dreams and having a good life and if we do that there's much less chances fewer chances of violence or dysfunction alcohol and drug abuse of any kind. So positive youth development is that certainly a stronger action oriented program and I should mention Little Free Libraries have action clubs associated with reading now and thats an outgrowth that I've been really pleased to see is that not only do you build a little library and fill it with good reading material but it motivates kids and adults to do other things and it might be gardening, it might be bicycling, it might be any kind of community service project and that I would say is an embodiment of the same kinds of principles and practices that made the Sarvodaya movement as successful as it is.
Aryae: Now that is fascinating that something as simple as the little free Library, a box of free books is really about more than books. It's about learning gift economy and exchange and generosity and how that can ripple up. That is so beautiful about that simple model.
Rick: Well and I think the awakening is the correct word. The children and the adults become awake and they are awakened to their own power and influence for good and for bad. You know philosophically I often say that it fascinates me how contagious hate and violence can be. And often how slow it is for love to expand and grow and nurture itself among people. But there are certainly instances where we are inspired by goodness and generosity and giving and caring and I think one of the questions you asked me was do you have a quote and that I might want to share for the principles of living and I said you know given the choice between light and darkness, I’ll choose light every time.
But there is that key element of the Sarvodaya movement is that you don't meditate every day just for yourself. It's compassionate action that matters. Loving kindness for yourself and for others and others means all kinds of creatures and that's the fascinating part to me. I will confess I don't always have all the answers to most of the things I deal with every day, but there is something worth celebrating at least once a week and every day I think I confess to you that I wake up and it's kind of a battle between optimism and anxiety and usually optimism wins and there's an inner voice that says- Get to work.
Aryae: Yeah. Well, you know that brings me to something that. Well, we talked about change yourself change the world and inner transformation and outer transformation the relationship between those and I'm wondering as you reflect on all these different kinds of projects that you've been involved with, what have you learned about the relationship between inner transformation and outer transformation?
Rick: Well, I guess one of the things I've learned is it ain't over yet and I keep learning things every day that I wished. I had known a long time ago as I mentioned earlier. I don't think it's about.
That transformation is not just ourselves. For me, we come to a point where I realized and I think many people realize that we are not in this alone. Talent is not everything money is not everything all things are not equal. I think it's important to look for differences that make a difference and we can't be fooled.
We don't always have to believe that everything people tell us that we can do or can't do is truth until we you know, we try it. So I think. Yes, I believe in inner transformation and that often is a discovery of what is possible and good and worth doing but I don't know it's not enough for me,anyway, I'm not just in this for myself. I wouldn't exist if it weren't for people who loved me and I had the wonderful opportunity to love in return.
Aryae: Yeah, so we're getting close to the top of the hour and I'm going to turn it over to Preeta in just a moment. I want to ask you one more question. We started off talking about the little free library and you've retired from that. How long ago did you retire from the Little Free Library?
Rick: I don't know I think probably for I can't remember four years ago.
Aryae: Okay, so looking at it from you know, your perspective of today and looking at what happened when you were involved and then what it's become since what are your reflections today about the Little Free Library movement?
Rick: Most of my Reflections are that it has become exactly what I hoped it would be. My goal in the beginning was never to start a business where we could be in the business of selling little boxes it that's part of the effort and it was a tactic and strategy but it's gone far beyond that and both geographically and conceptually and even for me and others socially and spiritually.
So that is a tremendous reward. I love looking at Google Earth to find out who's doing what these days and I admire all of the stewards have been involved and my former colleagues at Little Free Library who are pursuing this notion in a very broad and all inclusive way that reaches out and recognizes the power and the interconnectedness of what motivates this particular example of generosity in sharing.
So that's extremely rewarding and I even though I'm retired and I'm involved in lots of other things right now. I will say that I'm as excited as ever about moving libraries as an example. Of how a small idea can can turn into something much bigger and far beyond what you see in touch with your hands and your eyes look at and it leads to all kinds of other things. And it's very similar to the Sarvodaya movement and positive Youth Development and sharing foods and Community Gardens and all of those kinds of things that I've been involved in.
It's more of the same but it just happens to be a different tangible form. That's really wonderful to think about.
Aryae: Wonderful reflection, and I love the notion of how something really simple can ripple out and become something much greater than we might have imagined. So it's really been a pleasure so far having this conversation with you Rick and thank you so much and, Preeta, at this point.
I'd like to turn it over to you.
Preeta: Yeah, thank you so much. Thanks for an incredibly fascinating and enlightening conversation. So Aryae and Rick. I have a number of questions that I want to follow up with just as host prerogative. But before I do that, I want to remind all of our participants that these this is a co-created space and we would love your active engagement with Rick and your own reflections around anything that has touched you so far.
So with that Rick I wanted to as I mentioned take a little bit of the host prerogative and ask some follow-up that really came out for me. You mentioned about the sense of stewardship for each box of the Little Free Libraries. And you said that among the things that you kind of helped mentor people on as they take on this is to make sure that you know how to engage their neighbors and also making sure that the books are the right books for the neighborhood.
I guess in regard to that are there particular types of books or kind of titles that you suggest as part of these libraries?
Rick: Well, my guiding principle is books that you love and it started with my wife and I realized that we had three copies of the same Curious George book that had been sitting on our bookshelf for 20 years our daughters 38 now. So it's books that you love and you cherish but you haven't even picked up in years and why this leave them in your own bookshelf at home?
But that's sort of not even a rule. It's a strong suggestion. Books that interest you books you wish you had and often people will put requests in their little libraries and see if anybody else has got a book that they'd like to get. There are in the beginning, there are some communities who are all worried.
It looks might be inappropriate. And I always laugh and they say you have children's books and you have adult books and I said, well we call them books for grown-ups. But you know the answer I can give a long answer. My favorite books I found in little free libraries. My first favorite was Captain Underpants in Spanish.
The second one was The Joy of Jell-O Molds. Now stick with me. The third one was a an Indian from South Indian plastic surgeon who spent his entire career specializing in gluteal contouring. Now, use your imagination on tha.T and I give you that because anybody can do as I say anybody can put a book in anybody can take it out. For a long time. some people thought that was censorship. And other people were upset that there were books that might be inappropriate for children. And the word serendipity enters into this and that's what's funny about it because the original name of Sri Lanka was serendib, but we won't go there. But the point is you never know what you're going to find there and if you see something that really bothers you take it out.
And for some people that's just too open-ended. I would say very few people though. And in the vast majority of communities, it's a self governing system. That, on its own, I admire, because somehow tens of thousands of these probably more than a hundred thousand are are doing just fine and they seem to keep being used and people give and take in a way that it's they find their own balance.
So that's you know, it's freedom of expression is definitely there and some people who get all upset and I've had a few calls and you know, somebody said, "What if boys put Playboy magazines in there?"
I said, "Well, I don't know. You don't like them in there, take them out. But are you aware of what goes on the internet?"
So it's a long answer but it's a beautiful thing to see when things are working well. It's a self governing system.
Preeta: And the connection between that and Sarvodaya and also you talked about Habitat for Humanity and other kinds of counterparts that have some of these governing principles. I want to follow up about a little bit and also your last your last exchange with Aryae around interchange and inner transformation and first outer forces changing the world.
I guess the question I have for you is to what extent are changes in Consciousness or inner inner transformation tied to the quality of the change in the world and the one another that we bring about? So the reason I ask this is it's my understanding and I don't I don't learn about Sarvodaya of the only after in preparation for this call.
But it seems like Sarvodaya has in addition to all of this work they do around self-governance and communities, they also have kind of organized sounds like multi-faith, you know meditation or mindfulness programs and things like that. And I wonder kind of to what extent that Consciousness based work is tied to the material work, for example of like building a home like Habitat for Humanity and how important are the intersection of the two?
Rick: Totally important and that's a really good question. People in beginning the government of Sri Lanka saw how successful this Ramadan at work camps were and the government said we're going to do this. And they didn't work out very well and the difference was that Ari, Doctor Adi Dotnha and people in the Sarodaya movement realized that you have to prepare people psycho-spiritually, you know psycho-socially for the fact that they're going to share with each other. And here's the interesting part. The process was they would organize groups of children, youth, adult women, adult men and elders. They would teach each of those groups how to organize a project. And I've witnessed children stand-up--two seven year old girl stood up and said to the entire village, "We are going to start a feeding program for children."
And I saw two young women who probably didn't stand up to their husbands very much, say, "We are going to do this and here's our strategic plan."
Now the point is if you only think about Economic Development and tangible improvements in life or building a building or even little free libraries. That's what they're dealing with or Canal. Those are important things but equally important maybe even more important is the psycho-spiritual psychosocial preparation where you realize what power you have with your family and neighbors in making life better.
And that is absolutely fundamental to a very holistic approach to development, and it's very hard to uneducated particularly Americans I think and others that Sarvodaya is not just about Economic Development. I mean, they have Village Banks.
At once the chilled all the groups get together. They form a Village Council to incorporate they form a village bank. They have Micro loans that impress the heck out of anybody who looks at them. The payback rates and you know, 90% or more. And all kinds of practical tangible results occur, but they are rooted and surrounded and embraced by a psycho spiritual preparation forI'm not just in this for me. I'm in this for all the people who matter to me and to whom I matter.
Preeta: So do you think that some of the kind of American counterparts to Sarvodaya that you mentioned, like for example, the Habitat for Humanity if you mention free little libraries and you mentioned like aarp's livable communities thing do you think they have that same level of psychosocial preparation or kind of maintenance of that of that state of being?
Rick: I think there are pieces of it did show up?
And I and I say this with all respect I think in each of the programs that you just mentioned, there are certainly motivators for service and the idea of mission certainly shares part of the motivation, but it's. In preparing for today. I was looking at some things that I've written in the past and one of the questions I had I gave a sermon recently at a local church.
I always wondered, you know, if it is more noble more wonderful to give than to receive, more blessed to give than receive. How does that work? It doesn't from a from a physics standpoint. You can't just have a one-sided equation. And so giving and receiving are part of the same circle of power and influence and energy exchange. And I think a lot of what happens in the United States good as it is and wonderful, impressive and inspiring as it is, is only part of the equation that energizes the Servodaya movement and similar movements like it. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there's a program in Nepal now rooted in Sarvodaya philosophy started by Shishir Kanal who was the director of Sarvodaya, USA for a long time. His Teach for Nepal where they have cohorts of 40 or 50 young people who are inspire to become leaders in Nepal.
And they operationalize that by spending a two-year commitment in remote Village Schools. Now, it's a very holistic approach and to answer your question. I think that again United States, this is my personal opinion, we tend to put a value on everything and you get into a conflict and politics and usually as well, how much is this going to cost or what's the price of this but what's the value of this and.
What I've learned from Sarvodaya certainly and other experiences is the dollar cost or the monetary cost is not even close to what the true value of an exchange is or an awakening that you experience might be.
Preeta: And how optimistic are you like whether in the kind of a geographically finite area that maybe Sarvodaya operates in Sri Lanka or elsewhere, how optimistic are you that some of these self governance mechanisms of communities can actually start taking over functions of the state which is done through, you know, kind of no more coercive means?
Rick: Yeah. You know, I'll be totally honest. Not that I haven't been all this time. It depends on what time of day you get me obviously people who are involved in social action and even political action. We have to be optimist.˜ We wouldn't be doing this unless we thought that was likely to be a positive outcome of something that we're doing.
At this time, in the United States in particular, I think this Awakening that we're discussing at this very moment is really important and I'm not sure that it's occurring at the rate and in the depth that I would appreciate so I my daily battle is I'm interested in everything. I think everything is interconnected and I mean everything, you know.
Religion, economics, entertainment, you name it? I've watched probably 2010 Tedtalks and I can I can't pinpoint, you know, the things about which I am optimistic always because like anybody else, you know, I've gone through periods where I feel helpless. But, what seems to draw me back into wanting to wake up tomorrow morning is the notion that even I as one person maybe I can do a little something that's going to make things better.
And often the small...I talk about small and big and very ambitious people, often think big and I think small because if you do it right and small and you get the experience out of it that that you hope and people that you're trying to serve can witness it and be part of it. Small can get bigger and even if it doesn't small it has to be good enough because you know, we're going this I don't know about you but.
You know, I'm 69. I'm not gonna live forever so I could die tomorrow. So now's the time for me and here's the time and my awareness of an association with service space and Daily Good and and Awakin and so on, has been fuel for my own optimism and I am so grateful for that.
Preeta: Well, thank you. Well, I have a lot of more questions that I will stop and we have some comments that have come in via the web.
We have a comment from Kay from India who says hello. Mr. Brooks. I'm very inspired by you you're doing amazing work. I'm from India, and I'm also running a mini library for villagers. And he asks for a message from you for young people for making for you know, encouraging an interest in learning books.
Rick: I love hearing those stories. And first of all, you may feel free to give my email address out leave it to you. I'm happy to do that. What I would encourage him or her to do is go to the little Free Library. Website, it's a rich rich Resource Center. There's a network. There are newsletters every week.
There are tips on how to deal with problems and how to improve things and they're a lot of we know that a lot of people in India who have little libraries or the equivalent of them. Basically it often the secret is. A grown-up person or a person to personally read with someone who doesn't read well and that really is makes a huge difference.
I love to seeing kids read to senior citizens and vice versa. I love seeing people who are feeling well read the people who are not feeling well and vice versa. So it's a very personal thing that is most successful. Usually it's it's authentically genuinely honestly saying, I love this. I want to share this with you.
I can't think of anything more powerful than that.
Preeta: Fabulous. We also have a comment in just kind of a reflection from Mish. She says the books are our friends that deepen many a connection sharing books with others and have been blessed by books passed on to me. A book passed on to me a very long time ago put me on my spiritual path and change my life.
That book was autobiography of a yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.
Rick: Well, it's funny many books have changed my life and I gave a talk recently and listed them which I'd also be happy to share with people but I will tell you some that just love so many books about Gandhi changed my life a lot.
I was a big fan of Albert Schweitzer when I was in the fifth grade. Looked about him Marian Wright Edelman book called The Measure of Our Success. It's lessons for lessons for living. I mean, my list is pretty long. One thing I would say to people is that people ask me. Are you interested in blank and the answer is of course tell me more.
And that leads you to books and now it's so easy to find books. I will make a pitch by the way for getting your books at places other than online. Buy them in library book sales or buy them for people or give them and share them but there's plenty of books out there. Just waiting for eager eyes to scan them to read them.
Preeta: Have you have you turned it all to the Kindle or I shouldn't use a particular but the e-book reader phenomena?
Rick: No, I haven't and it's because I believe that. I'm a Believer in independent bookstores. And I don't I think that the call it political view if you want. I think the Amazon has enough power and it's been done major damage.
It's helped reading in a lot of ways but have independent bookstores and good local libraries is really important. And so no, I you know, if you find it's easier for you to read in the Kindle, that's fine. But anything I can do to support independent bookstores and local libraries and little libraries, I want to do.
Preeta: Great. We have a Live question from Wendy.
Wendy: Hi, I'm just been so impressed by both a variety and vastness of all you've accomplished over the years and my question to you is what have you found that works to transform resistance in people where you're trying to start a project for the greater good but there's often times some resistance there?What have you found that transforms that resistance?
Rick: Well, that's a wonderful question and the the long answer. That's what I spent my career doing and think of it this way think of three different Continuum one is belief. The second is knowledge and the third is behavior. All right, and in public health, it's KAP [Knowledge, Attitude,Practices].
Anyway, the point is. We will not win over people at the opposite end of the spectrum. We will not win over by certainly by compulsion. That's a terrible strategy. Because as soon as you stop compelling people to do things they stop. So I think what we do is we focus in on something that the person who seems to resist has in common with us and we listen and we find out what motivates them.
I used to do training and still can do it, but on deal with beliefs that they that we have in common deal with knowledge that we have in common. Behavior and actions that we have in common and build from build on those. If you look at the spectrum from the left side is I don't believe that I'm absolutely opposed to it to the right side, which is I believe wholeheartedly in that. Same thing with knowledge.
I'm totally ignorant of that or I know a lot about that and I want to share it and the behavior is I never do that. On the left hand side of the Continuum and on the right hand side is I do that all the time. It's so much of habit. I don't even have to think about it. But what we're after and I think to answer your question is all the people in the middle of those Continuum and if we can build on that it is.
This is one of my teaching principles true dialogue is a meaningful exchange of information in a non-threatening situation a meaningful exchange of information. And it's the important part is Meaningful exchange and non-threatening and those are the contexts where I think other change can happen.
That's a short answer but it's best I can give you the moment.
Wendy: Thank you. That's a wonderful answer.
Preeta: Thanks Wendy. So, Rick, I wonder what you think, you know in terms of the local small efforts and this is very much also tied to ServiceSpace's efforts. What do you think is the role of technology in both inspiring local change efforts across the globe and you know, also, you know.
Even even certain services that might help build community via technology. I know I know there's a double-edged sword there, but I guess in particular that's the general question and in particular I'm interested given your experience and time Banking and and ABCG John McKnight work around asset based Community Development are their Technology Solutions that might assist those kinds of initiatives?
Rick: Yes, and I think I know that that's the origin of service space and all of the projects that we on this conversation have in common. Technology has made a tremendous difference. For me, I'm totally overwhelmed. I can't master another set of you know software or anything. I can't even keep up. With my cell phone working.
And so I think we're overwhelmed. I don't know. I don't know anybody who isn't completely overwhelmed. Now particularly were overwhelmed with people we don't know who are who have a need because of their own personal need to insult or you know, they're trolls and there's awful lot of information, we don't need we don't want isn't helpful isn't healthy. Now the flip side the good side of technology is that when it allows us to be honest and genuine in expressing our needs and also responding to other people's needs. Then I'm in favor and often we get confused. We assume this is we have a website people are going to come to us or seems we have a Facebook page or I'm right now in the middle of a challenge where we're promoting a bike ride to raise money.
We had seven hundred seventy people spend a day in Princeton, Illinois riding between 10 miles and a hundred miles to raise money for an early childhood development center. If we can use technology in this is the year going to try it. We can use you know, Facebook Instagram and some really neat little technological things to make that happen and enrich that experience I'm for it.
So in many ways technology and the internet and all the associated things have tremendous, not only potential obviously, track record and service space is a classic example of that into so many wonderful ways. I think we have to be thoughtful and careful about limiting the sheer depth and breadth and amount of information that we try to keep up with because, frankly, it's driving me crazy. I'm I'm ridiculous. I can't I don't know what to do with it. So I love these kinds of communication technological Communications and I'm happy to do anything that will put genuinely caring people in touch with me and vice versa and when we get to a point where we can't keep up and we'll figure something out but there's.
I mean, you know this these calls the all of the things that ServiceSpace is doing are rooted in good people using technology for good.
Preeta: Yeah, I guess I'm thinking specifically about some of the time banking efforts. So many communities. This is actually something that's of dear interest to me because I've come back to Nebraska working on some of these efforts so many of these efforts kind of peter out after a couple hundred people being involved and so much of the value of any kind of exchange even if it's not money, even if it's time is based on certain critical mass or volume that allows so that's where I'm kind of wondering. Is there a role that kind of Technology can play in helping some of these initiatives potentially not only get broader and wider but also potentially have greater value in a non-monetary way for the participants?
Rick: Yes, I think you're saying several things and I agree with. One is the you said 200 people. If you remember Tom Peters books Passion for Excellence. He talked about the Gore-Tex Gore Industries. It makes gortex things and every time the gore company reached 200 people. They would either open a new building or a different division because they thought that the community was around 200 was a Tipping Point.
So in some ways right now, for example, I want to people have asked me about time Banking and I'm putting together a list of maybe five very short YouTube's that show them what time banking can be. There's always the tendency to think that well. I mean, [01:21:00] I did it, you know, I. I told you they're 2,500 people in Madison in the time bank and that is true was true.
But in fact the best part of time banking is when you use the technology and the right people find the answers or the people that they're looking for and whether that has you have a fancy piece of software or not. In the end, it's face-to-face that matters. So the time banking system itself. I think they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on software in the beginning and eventually discovered that they needed simpler software.
And in fact, in Madison, I'll be blunt and I was involved in an early and still am from a distance in some ways the software of listing what you do what your offers and your needs are. That's what got it started, but it often got in the way. And now I think what makes the whole things work is key individuals who got started because of the software are sticking with it and small is okay.
You know, if you have a time Bank of 20 people. Wonderful, you know, and time banking is really built on what people in rural small towns in the American frontier and so on did,anyway. It just provides a little bit better system to organize that and make it easier to find the help and give the help that you need.
So technology is great. There are simpler software systems now, if you go to timebanks USA, you can find some. I think right now my move from Madison, Wisconsin if you know. You know the American political landscape to the small town of Princeton has been a fascinating learning experience and every time I think of doing something technological I think why don't I just get some people together at the public library. We'll talk about it and it'll happen. And often the latter works almost as well.
Preeta: That's great. Well Rick, thank you so much for your incredible wisdom, your commitment to so many amazing projects. There's so much richness in everything you talked about and there's so much to unravel and each one of these that could lead to. You know, I certainly look forward to continuing the conversation with you.
And I'm sure many of our participants do as well. One question, we always ask all of our guests is how can we as a kind of global ecosystem of ServiceSpace, I know you're quite familiar with many of the players. How can we support your work further and support your values?
Rick: Well, whether it supports my worker values is not really the most important thing but what you can do several things one is I actually contacted ServiceSpace and the Nipun responded to my inquiry and I was contacting because I wondered if Karma tube would be interested in what I think is the best video about little free libraries.
And that's one I'm sending you a copy of that. I'm sending a copy of the book about. Dr. Ari Datnah and a couple of other things to the Awakin group that meets in that Nipun has been associated with directly in there in California. But so the answer is, you know, go to timebanks USA website go to the Sarvodaya website.
Learn what you can about Sarvodaya. Any of these things, I'm happy to talk to people about. I'm retired now you can you probably can't tell I'm a total failure at it. But what it means is I get to talk to people like you and I wish I knew more about the people on this call. So the the answer is if anything catches your imagination, you people can contact me and I'd love to talk to them about it and there's something that I know there's something I can learn from them, and we can see what happens.
Preeta: Great, and I'm going to put you on the spot for just a minute. I know there's probably a thousand books that you love and have influenced you but just at the moment now, is there something that you would love for people to read that too as part of the Great Awakening that you hope happens.
Rick: Well, I would say the book that I've edited is the one is A.T. Ariyaratne: Compassionate Activist, but there were only 500 copies in the world. I'm only sending one but let me think about that because I don't think there is one and that's a wonderful question to end on because I think we all get hung up about one thing or one channel or one Silo one way of thinking one Paradigm.
I think it's the connections among all of those things that matter to me and I do have lots of favorite books. I rarely have just one thing that interests me or that I value and it often changes. And it's wonderful to rediscover stuff that you knew or discovered 20 30 40 years ago. This phone call has provided that opportunity for me.
I'll think about it and maybe I can follow up with you Preeta others will figure out if any of this catches anyone's imagination. Let's let's talk about it some more and I'd be interested.
Preeta: Wonderful. Aryae, you do you have any closing comments for our guests?
Arye: Just to say thank you the breadth of vision of what you've done with your life and of this conversation and some of the follow-up that you've done, Preeta, and then the last half hour all of this has been very inspiring and and sort of helping me renew my commitment to wake up each morning do what I can in the world. So thank. Rick.
Rick: Well, I think about Nipun Mehta and I connected in a very interesting way and in many ways he is the holder the inspiration but also the example of the kind of thing that we're talking about as are both of you, you know, we only live once. Again, it's in the here and now here we are but if each of us does something that matters to us and therefore to someone else and that is our motivation from the intention to the practice to the outcome, that's what makes the difference and I am so grateful to be part of this whole network of thinking and acting.
Preeta: Wonderful. Thank you Rick. And if people want to we'll send out a follow-up email, but people people want to start a little free library in their Community sounds like we just go to the website and register and do we do people without build their own boxes. Is that how that works?
Rick: See that little Free Library dot-org, I [01:28:00] would say the vast vast majority of people build their own and there's thousands of examples of that on both Pinterest and Flickr and you can see in the little Free Library website and it's a as I say, it's too rich resource.
So so go there a little Free Library dot-org same thing. I think it's time Banks USA But in both of those cases, there are now many organizations that do similar things that are that interconnect with both Little Free library and time Banks & Sarvodaya too, so yeah, and feel free to contact me. Preeta and Aryae, you can both give people my dress and if there's a way that we could do that and yeah, I would love to be in touch.
Preeta: Perfect. Thank you so much Rick.
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