New LSU Press Book Recounts the Remarkable Story of the LSU Community Playground Project


BATON ROUGE – With the heartfelt and hopeful conviction that people can accomplish extraordinary things when they do ordinary things together, LSU professor Marybeth Lima began the LSU Community Playground Project as a way to involve her students in the larger Baton Rouge community. Fifteen years and more than 700 students later, “Building Playgrounds, Engaging Communities,” available in February from LSU Press, tells the remarkable story of the Playground Project’s ongoing partnership with area public schools to build safe, fun, accessible, kid-designed playgrounds.

Lima’s experiences with the Playground Project range from outright failures to hard-won victories. Overcoming the challenges of working with scarce resources and persevering despite many setbacks, Lima and her students succeeded with hope, humor, and dedication.

“Building Playgrounds, Engaging Communities” emphasizes the major impact people have when they work together for the common good – whether by building playgrounds, establishing neighborhood gardens, or participating in honest, respectful conversations. To this end, Lima provides an appendix with practical advice for local engagement. People wanting to make a difference in their communities can use this book as a road map; those active in long-term endeavors will draw on it for ideas and inspiration.

Lima is the Cliff and Nancy Spanier Alumni Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and director of the Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership at LSU. She and her partner live in Baton Rouge with three rescue animals.

For more information, contact Erin Rolfs at 225-578-8282 or or visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations