Scout Promotes Literacy Through Little Libraries Eagle Project

By: J.L. Shirley

Local Boy Scout, Hunter Webber, a 17 year old Roxbury student, recently undertook his Eagle Scout project by completing a task that has important ties to his own interests.
In choosing a project Webber believed that the focus of his project should reflect something he is interested in. In order to “promote literacy,” Webber states, he choose a project which makes books easily available to the community.
In order to make this desire a reality, Webber asked for the assistance of the Roxbury Library, the staff of which helped to guide him onward to his goal and will continue to remain a huge part of the ongoing sustainability of the project.
With the guidance of the library, Webber set out to create “Little Libraries” which would be erected at three different areas of the community.
Horseshoe Lake, Kiwanis and Landing Parks are now home to easily accessible and readily available libraries. The best part about these Little Libraries is that no library cards are required, there are no due dates, no closing times or holidays and new titles will rotate in through the same patrons who borrow the books.
The libraries are essentially boxes raised on a stake which house the collection of books. Webber explains that the box part of the library is “about the size of a microwave.”
Each library box has a clear plastic window in the front so that patrons can see the books with the door closed but the book are protected from the rain. The boxes themselves are made from wood but have metal roofs and each door features a light that comes on after dark when the door is opened.
To place these libraries, a three foot hole had to be dug in the ground and cement poured to keep the stakes in place.
The materials for the construction were donated by local businesses such as Home Depot, Sherwin Williams and Kuiken Brothers.
“I had to speak to a number of managers,” Webber explains, in order to obtain the supplies he needed for this project.
With the actual houses for the libraries built, Webber’s next goal was to fill them up. Books were donated by his fellow scouts, Troop 159, as well as the Roxbury Library Board. In total Webber estimates that 50 to 60 titles were donated to initially fill the Little Libraries.
Although at this time Webber is no longer looking for donations he would be happy to take any that will help sustain the project.
As Webber explains, the libraries are meant to be “take a book, put back a book” but anyone who visits the Little Library is welcome to borrow without replacing or even to keep the books they come to love.
“The library board will continuously stock if [the libraries] are lacking books,” states Webber.
The titles which have been collected for the Little Libraries vary greatly, there is a “multitude of different books, not only for one demographic,” Webber says, therefore readers of all ages and levels can enjoy.
An opening ceremony for Webber’s libraries was held on Sept. 17, officially opening his three Little Libraries.
Webber’s father, Ken, states, “Hunter is following in my footsteps, I am very proud of him.” Ken also remembers that the first day of stocking the libraries a father and child borrowed a book and sat on a park bench to enjoy it. Both father and son note the satisfaction that was felt in that moment, already seeing a dream come to fruition.
Webber eagerly awaits his upcoming Eagle Scout review which will officially move him forward as an Eagle Scout.

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