PEORIA — One of the 14 Little Free Libraries scattered throughout the Peoria area was knocked over and the nearly 40 books that were once inside were ruined by rainfall.

The little library sits at Carver Community Center to supply books for those who don’t have access to libraries. The particular library that was damaged is sponsored by Book Rack Used Books & Gifts owner Stacy Hardin, who supplies the books to fill the wooden, cabinet-like structure that sits in a park area.

Hardin said she had just been by the little library on Friday and everything was fine. She received a call on Saturday about the damage, and when she arrived, she found the wooden box knocked off its stand, the door ripped off the hinges, and the books scattered around it. All of the books that were once held safely inside were completely ruined by rain.

Hardin decided against filing a police report because she was unsure if the damage was due to vandalism or weather, although she does not recall the weather being severe enough to cause the amount of damage that was done.

But this is not the first time this little library has been damaged, and now Hardin is taking precautions to ensure that it won’t happen again. When she posted pictures of the destroyed library, she received a lot of attention and expressions of concern.

Some advised her against putting up a new one, and others were all for replacing it.

Considering both sides, she reached out to the community and someone suggested making the replacement library out of plate steel to avoid future damage. Hardin started a GoFundMe page because the steel is estimated to cost around $400.

“One girl commented that this is how she gets books for her babies,” Hardin wrote on the GoFundMe page. “That one comment alone is enough to make us keep putting this box up again and again.”

In just eight hours, the campaign exceeded its $500 goal and now sits at $650. Hardin said whatever money is left over from the fund after the replacement is built will go toward a new dedication ceremony and books to give the neighborhood kids who attend it.

“The response to it has just been amazing,” Hardin said. “I wasn’t quite expecting this. ... Who would’ve thought a Little Free Library box would have such a big impact?”