New little libraries in town

Sarah Bunich
St. James Plaindealer

Five parks, Memorial, Westside, Southside, Rotary, Malmrose, and Deer, in St. James have had tiny libraries installed last month. These libraries were made as a part of a project to become an eagle scout.

Cooper Crawford has been in boy scouts since 6th grade, within those years he has done enough and completed all the requirements to lead up to this final step to be pinned as an eagles scout.

Crawford had the idea and was the power behind the libraries being made and installed. He made them so that no matter what park someone went to there was a library and some form of education is freely available. 

"I feel like education should be free, it shouldn't have a price," said Crawford. " Little libraries and libraries, in general, are great spaces to sit down to relax and read a book.. Reading is such an important life skill."

The idea of little libraries came to Crawford in late 2019 around October and November when he learned that St. James wanted little libraries around town. Crawford started fundraising for the project in 2021.

" I initially wanted to get fundraising done in 2020 due to the pandemic it got pushed back," said Crawford. " It started getting back in motion January 2021."

Each library had help being made by various community members. From the wood used, to how it got painted there was some person or organization that helped Crawford. Crawford said it took a village to make the little libraries and that he would like to thank everyone who helped him make them.

The people he would like to thank are St. James Eagles, Sertoma, Smithfield foods, Truvalue, Bolin Lumber, Cemstone Concrete, Joe McCabe, Chad Stradtman, Steve Chapin and 4th-hour Outdoor Education, Troop 20, The families that participated, and Steph Gisis.

One of the biggest parts he got help with was painting every library. Crawford went and talked with Chapin's class to see if they would help him paint. Chapin was also a big help for letting his class help paint and because he has made little libraries before so he helped Crawford in other ways too.

"We got four of them painted in under 45 minutes," said Crawford. " I had one I wanted to paint myself and I gave another one to Nickolas and Elizabeth Almendariz to paint."

On September 4 Crawford put all the little libraries in the parks. When they were putting them in they used a post digger, which helped a lot and saved them a lot of time. All seven libraries were put in by noon that day.