Home Headline Feature Bath student creating free libraries to increase access to books, literacy

Bath student creating free libraries to increase access to books, literacy

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Eagle Scout candidate Jackson D. Barnes drilling for carriage bolts. Barnes is establishing five new little libraries in Lima.

Local student brings national book exchange program to lima

Staff Reports
news@the419.com

Local Eagle Scout candidate, Jackson Barnes, is establishing five new little libraries in Lima. In July, Barnes installed the first of the Free Little Libraries at the Northwest Ohio Literacy Council at 563 W. Spring Street.

Free Little Libraries are book exchange locations where anyone can take a book or two from the library and bring one to share. The point is to get people sharing their favorite books with their community. The Little Free Library at the Literacy Council, part of the Lima Adult Learning Center, is shaped like a little house and is the size of a large mailbox and holds about 30 books. Barnes said he was excited to find the mailbox at the Lima ReStore while getting supplies for his project.

“It actually looks like it was made for The Literacy Council,” he said.

Eagle Scout John A. Young III with Eagle Scout candidate Jackson D. Barnes with Little Free Library.

Eagle Scout John A. Young III with Eagle Scout candidate Jackson D. Barnes with Little Free Library.

Little Free Libraries have been called “miniature town squares.” There are over 36,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 states and in over 70 countries around the world. Barnes said he would like Lima to be included in this movement. The public is welcome to exchange books at this location.

“I’m really hoping my Eagle Scout project will increase access to books, build excitement about reading, increase literacy and really bring a sense of community with it,” Barnes said.

Besides the Literacy Council, four other Little Free Libraries in Lima will be located at the Shirley Daley Senior Village, The LACNIP Neighborhood Resource Center, The Bradfield Center and at the Children’s Garden. To fill the libraries, Barnes collected donations of six large boxes of books. In his initial planning and proposal stage, Barnes looked for community organizations and businesses that have employees or volunteers to be stewards of the Little Free Libraries and keep them open and filled with books.

“The Free Little Library is the perfect fit for the mission of our organization,” said Ken Blanchard, director of the Literacy Council, “We feel very strongly that literacy depends on the whole community and the whole community depends on literacy.”

Barnes will apply for his Eagle Scout badge this fall. He is the only son of Larry and Denise Barnes and has two sisters. He attends Bath High School and plans to attend business school. Barnes started in scouts as a Cub Scout​ ​and has been a Boy Scout for nearly four years. He has been working on his Eagle Scout project for about a year.

Other Little Free Library locations around the world can be found at littlefreelibrary.org