Atascocita has two new “little free libraries,” thanks to Girl Scout Gold Award candidate Erica Gonzalez. The libraries, which hold around 30 books at a time, are stationed outside the front entrance of Eagle Springs Elementary School and Groves Elementary School and focus on children’s books.
The little free libraries let students borrow a book, swap a book for a different book, or just browse the unmanned library which operates under the honor system. While public libraries require the return of borrowed books, that’s not a requirement for the little free library. In fact, people who can't afford to leave a book can just take a book. Across the globe, there are more than 75,000 of these honor-system libraries in all different sizes and shapes.
As part of her Gold Award, Gonzalez made the new little libraries using old newspaper boxes that the Houston Chronicle donated to the project. She also collected more than 1,000 books from the community to fill the little libraries for years to come. To get the newspaper boxes ready to become little libraries, Gonzales said she cleaned the boxes, sanded the boxes, painted them, and then applied lettering and artwork. As part of her Gold Award, Gonzales also made a book nook for Humble HeadStart.
To achieve the Gold Award, Girl Scouts are challenged to identify a community issue, investigate it, build a team to support their efforts, create a plan, present the plan to the Girl Scout council for approval, carry out the plan, and educate and inspire others with the results of the plan. Girl Scouts complete service projects for the Bronze and Silver Awards before the Gold Award service project.
Gonzalez is a senior at Atascocita High School and is a member of the Atascocita Swim Team, the Beta Club, and is on the backpacking committee for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto. This past summer, 29 Girl Scouts and parents spent two weeks backpacking in Canada. Gonzales also participates in the Engines of Change Student Ambassador program at the Houston Holocaust Museum.
The free little library movement is strong across the country and world. Eagle Springs resident Amanda Chappell is also working on installing little libraries at Atascocita Springs Elementary and West Lake Middle School. The littlefreelibrary.org website includes a map of all the library locations.