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Supported by Disney

Create a community library with Encanto

Do a little something for your Scouts community by opening a mini library.

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You’ll need

  • A4 card
  • Scissors
  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • A book you enjoyed reading
  • A large container (such as a cardboard box)

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklistto help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Tell the story

Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia. When the family had to flee from attackers, they found the candle of Alma, which created their home. Their home is called Casita and it’s a magical house for the family to live in. It’s located in a magical place called Encanto, which is bordered by high mountains. A new village has grown around the Casita, protected by the candle.

The magic of the candle also gives everyone in the Madrigal family a unique gift to help them to serve the villagers. The gifts have been things, such as seeing into the future, super strength or the power to make people better with food. Every person in the family got their magical gift at the age of five, all except one, Mirabel. But when Mirabel discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger and it might all fall down, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family's last hope.

The Family Madrigal
The Family Madrigal

Learning about communities

  1. Gather everyone together in a circle. Ask everybody about the story of Encanto and if anyone’s seen the film.
  2. You could chat about the Family Madrigal, how they help their community with their unique gifts to overcome challenges.
  3. If you’re able to, play ‘All of You’ from the Encanto soundtrack.
  4. Now, chat about how in the film the community that The Madrigals are a part of, join together to help rebuild the Casita. As it is to The Madrigals, community is important to us. We’re all part of different communities and they support us in different ways.
  5. Discuss the different communities everyone in their group may have. They might think about their Scouts community, school community, their neighbours, anywhere they volunteer or attend regularly, other extracurricular activities, or other local communities of which they are a part.

Choosing a community for your library

  1. Explain that it’s important for everyone to feel and be a part of these communities, as we’re stronger as a team. An important part of a community is what we do for others.
  2. Tell everyone that lots of different people make up a community. Each one offers lots of different things. Some people help to keep us safe, some give us things to do and some help us learn.
  3. It’s good to do something to give back to the community. One way we can do this in Scouts is with a small community library - a small collection of books, or other items to share within a chosen community.
  4. As a group, decide who could be your chosen community. It could be your Scout section or your wider Scout group. It could even your wider, local area community if you’ve somewhere to store your library safely.

Creating your library

  1. Before creating your own little library, it may be useful to take a trip to your local library to learn more about the services offered there. Don't forget to follow your off site visits procedures.
  2. Libraries have much more than physical books. They often contain local archives, assist the public in accessing government schemes and funds and run early years learning programmes. Lots of libraries can provide you with access to thousands of e-books, e-magazines, audiobooks and DVDs, or even toys too!
  3. Your library doesn’t need to just be books. You may also want to make a library of toys, films or CDs, which people can use and bring back.
  4. If you live near a beach, you could also create a library of beach toys for people to use while on the beach, too.
  5. Ask everyone to think about what they'd like to share in their library.
  6. Remind everyone, including parents and carers, not to donate anything of sentimental or treasured value. This is a selection of books, or other items, that people can come and borrow from, or even add to themselves. Items will be taken and swapped within the community, so books, or anything else you donated, won’t necessarily be returned. 

Building your library and stocking the shelves

  1. Your little library could be housed in anything from an upcycled book shelf or a storage box to an old shoe rack or a trolley. Make sure to choose a container that can be easily stored at your meeting place and make sure to create something to label it. Why not use the bright colours from Encanto to decorate your library?
  2. Invite the group to bring in a book, or chosen item, that they’d like to share with the section. If someone doesn’t have a copy or they don’t want to lend out their copy, they could also look for second-hand copies at local charity shops or online.
  3. Remember, cost may be a barrier for some people. One option would be for your section or group to buy a selection of books, or other chosen items. They could be sources from a charity shop, supermarket, book shop or online for everyone to use and choose from.

Celebrating and sharing the items in the library

  1. Using a piece of white card, cut out a rectangle that's slightly longer than the length of your book. This can be used as a bookmark or tag.
  2. Everyone should write the title and author of the book, or the name of the item, at the top of their bookmark or tag. Then everyone should draw or write how the item makes them feel, as well as add their first name and the date to the bookmark or tag.
  3. People should then add the bookmark or tag to their item.
  4. When ready, put all the items into the library. Your library’s now open for lending!
  5. Everyone should choose an item, take it home and explore it. Once they’ve finished, they can add their thoughts and feelings to the bookmark, sign and date it, and return the book for others to enjoy.
  6. Your Scout volunteer team can decide how to operate the library and if items need to be signed in and out, as well as how long they can be borrowed for. You could even create library cards and ask for regular donations to the library, too.

© Disney

Watch this space

To start off your little library, and help your young people learn about the Encanto story, why not order a copy of the Encanto DVD from the Scout store?

Keep an eye on this page for when this will be available to order, with a maximum of one order per Squirrel drey.


Libraries often function as hubs for communities. What services would people be able to access at your library, and how would you make sure that it appeals to people of different ages?

Think about how you can advertise your library. Who can borrow from it? How will you tell them?

Could you bring together the people who borrow from your library to talk about books? How might you do this? Could you start a book club?

Could we do something else to benefit your local community?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Electrical equipment

Inspect cables for any damage before each use. A responsible adult should supervise people using equipment, and people should follow instructions on how to use them correctly and safely. They should be properly maintained and stored. Be extra cautious of trailing cables and water when using electric equipment.

Visits away from your meeting place

Complete a thorough risk assessment and include hazards, such as roads, woodland, plants, animals, and bodies of water (for example, rivers, ponds, lakes, and seas). You’ll probably need more adult helpers than usual. Your risk assessment should include how many adults you need. The young people to adult ratios are a minimum requirement. When you do your risk assessment, you might decide that you need more adults than the ratio specifies. Think about extra equipment that you may need to take with you, such as high visibility clothing, a first aid kit, water, and waterproofs. Throughout the activity, watch out for changes in the weather and do regular headcounts. 

If you fancy building a little library that's sturdier, permanent and available for the whole community to enjoy, there are several step-by-step guides available on Little Free Library.

Make it accessible

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.