Eagle Scout makes big impact with little libraries.

October 17, 2018

Eagle Scout Thomas Carey, at right, and Scoutmaster Dave Springer of Shelby Boy Scout Troop #1151.

Eagle Scout makes big impact with little libraries.

#ReadEarlyReadOften

Have you seen one of the new “Little Free Libraries” popping up around Oceana County?

Jumping into the early literacy effort is Eagle Scout Thomas Carey of Shelby Boy Scout Troop #1151. With the help of a local builder, Carey built and installed three Little Free Libraries. These stylish little libraries create a community book exchange program for adults and children alike to take a book home, exchange a book, or drop off their old books.

Read early Read often (RERO) assisted with the project by successfully applying to the Michigan Rural Council grant program to fund library materials, signage and children’s books.
Placement of these libraries was carefully chosen to benefit some communities in Oceana County that are the furthest from a local library or school – Benona, Ferry, and Golden townships.

Samantha Visger and son, Drake, find a good book to take home and read from Johnson Park Little Free Library in Mears.

In Benona, a lake blue little library can be found in front of Stony Lake Store & Café. A historic grey little library was placed in Johnson Square Park in downtown Mears, and a barn red library was placed by the Ferry Community Center. Community partners are helping to keep the libraries stocked with new and used books for all ages.

“Getting communities to rally behind early literacy is how we will get our youngest learners reading and succeeding,” stated RERO Coordinator Danielle Siegel.

The Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1910, awards its highest honors to those scouts who exemplify leadership and stewardship; live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law; and those who have earned at least 21 merit badges. While only around 5 percent of scouts receive the honorable Eagle Scout rank, among the likes of Gerald R. Ford and Neil Armstrong, Thomas Carey is among the elite.

In addition to the above requirements, those scouts wishing to achieve Eagle rank must complete a community service project. Carey chose one that will impact the reading culture and habits of families in his home community.

“I am hoping this project increases literacy and a love of reading,” Carey stated. “I like the idea of helping families to fill their home book shelves. I grew up with a book case in my room and reading was a big part of my childhood.”

RERO continues to promote early literacy through advocacy and the distribution of free children’s books with the help of many partners including local food pantries, farmer’s markets, and nonprofits. The Community Foundation for Oceana County provides leadership for the program, hosting Siegel as the Americorps VISTA member. Another community partner focused on early literacy is United Way’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, which provides 350 children with a free book in the mail each month. Great Start Collaborative is also focused on improving school readiness, including early literacy.

Inquiries about the program can be made to Siegel at (231) 861-8335 or [email protected] Book donations can be dropped off at any Oceana County library, the Community Foundation Office located at Shelby State Bank in Shelby, or dropped into any one of the three Little Free Libraries. More information on RERO can be found at www.oceana-foundation.org/community-impact/rero. If you would like to support this program, donations can be sent to the Community Foundation for Oceana County at PO Box 367, Shelby MI, 49455.

 

 

 

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