Reprinted from Alternative Education – Oklahoma Department of Education
Aidan Darcey loves to read. He loves reading so much that when it came time to decide on a project to get his Eagle Scout badge he knew an adventure involving books was inevitable. On Friday, November 6 a ribbon cutting and dedication of Little Free Library number 31,475 took place at Street School.
The Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. Anyone may pick up a book or two, or bring a book to share. The project is not about providing free books but rather creating a neighborhood piece of art where there is an understanding that real people sharing their favorite books with their community create a carefully curated collection.
Over the summer, Darcey, a home-schooled senior, reached out through Street Schools website to see if there were any projects, involving books, the the school could benefit from.
“I didn’t know anything about Street School when I emailed them,” said Darcey. “Part of achieving the Eagle Scout rank is to plan a project in service to others that helps a religious institution, school or community. Because Street School may have had a need for books, I wanted to see if I could turn their need into a project to secure my rank as an Eagle Scout.”
Darcey’s email led to a suggestion by Street School librarian Valerie Hansen to look into erecting a Little Free Library.
“When Street School suggested a Little Free Library I knew it was meant to be,” said Darcey. “Both of my grandmothers are retired librarians in Utah and have shared their experiences with me on Little Free Libraries so I was familiar with the concept.”
The structure was built primarily with recycled materials. “The Hardesty Library gave me an old book shelf. I completely de-constructed it and re-purposed it for my project,” said Darcey.
The library will be filled with books family and friends have donated to Darcey’s project. But deciding which books to start the library with was hard. “I have seven books from my personal library in this Little Free Library. I have written in the covers of each of them and hope they bring happiness to who reads them next,” said Darcey.
Only one percent of registered scouts nationally actually achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. There are several project restrictions, limitations, an approval process, supervision and leadership requirements in addition to project execution.
“Worldwide, there are more than 31,000 Little Free Libraries,” said Street School Executive Director Lori McGinnis-Madland, “this Library makes the fourth Little Free Library location in Tulsa and number 31,475 in the world! What a fantastic addition to the community surrounding 11th and Yale.”
Todd H. Bol is the creator of the Little Free Library concept. In 2009, Bol designed and built the first Little Free Library at his home in Hudson, Wisconsin. In 2010 after Bol held a neighborhood garage sale and excitement grew around the structure, Bol gave 30 Little Free Libraries to friends and family. Today, Little Free Libraries can be found in all 50 states and in over 70 countries worldwide.
Street School is an alternative high school with a therapeutic counseling program. The school’s mission is to create a supportive community for students in grades 9 through 12 who have chosen to work toward high school graduation in a non-traditional setting. Street School is a dropout prevention, intervention and recovery program accredited by Tulsa Public Schools. Students choose to attend Street School because they are committed to graduating from from school, to learning and practicing life skills, to resolving substance abuse problems, to dealing with behavioral issues and to filling the void of support traditionally provided by family.