Spotswood Boy Scout creates ‘little libraries’ for Eagle project

A preview of what the Little Library will look like, but without the front door added yet, which is part of Spotswood Troop 35 Boy Scout Jonathan Wasserman's Eagle Scout Project. COURTESY OF JONATHAN WASSERMAN
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A preview of what the Little Library will look like, but without the front door added yet, which is part of Spotswood Troop 35 Boy Scout Jonathan Wasserman's Eagle Scout Project. COURTESY OF JONATHAN WASSERMAN

SPOTSWOOD–Giving residents more access to all genres of literature, Boy Scout Jonathan Wasserman of Spotswood Troop 35 is building three “Little Free Libraries” for his Eagle Scout project.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world, according to the organization’s website.

Jonathan, who is 17 years old, said he joined Spotswood Troop 35 in March 2013 when he was 11 years old.

“I was first asked about this project by my neighbor Elizabeth Lonegan who is a member of the Friends of the Spotswood Public Library,” Jonathan said. “I liked the idea of being able to provide something that will benefit the town and the kids.”

Jonathan said he met with Spotswood Public Library Director C. L. Quillen at the library to review her request to build free libraries in the community.

“Having the little libraries around town will encourage reading, literacy, neighborhood friendliness, and will promote the Spotswood Public Library,” Jonathan said.    

During their meeting, Jonathan said he and Quillen discussed what type of libraries he would create, how many are needed, and the various areas in town where they could be installed. The libraries need to be waterproof, easy to use and highly visible, he said. It will have a Spotswood Public Library plaque which will mention Spotswood Troop 35.

The first Little Free Library will be placed in front of the Spotswood Public Library at 548 Main St. The second location will be at Mundy Road Park near the park benches at the front of the park, located on Mundy and Devoe avenues. The third location will be in front of G. Austin Schoenly Elementary School, located at 80 Kane Ave.

“[The third] location has special significance for me because I attended school here and my mother worked at this school for six years,” Jonathan explained. “Also, this location will have an additional dedication plaque for John Chaya, a Spotswood [High School] teacher that passed away last year.”

In order to build the three libraries, Jonathan reported that he received funding from the Friends of the Spotswood Public Library, personal donations, Lowe’s of East Brunswick, Home Depot of Milltown and 18 Lumber.

Jonathan said the Little Public Libraries will be built by scouts and volunteers offsite at another location. They are made almost completely made out of wood and they will be cemented into the ground to make them safe and secure. The Little Free Libraries will be maintained by the Spotswood Public Library.

“One of the requirements for me to become an Eagle Scout is to be able to lead the work effort, so it is very important for me to have help on the project,” Jonathan said. “I have scheduled work sessions with Troop 35 leaders and Troop 35 Boy Scouts, some of my family members, and my friends. They will cut the wood, build the free little libraries and install them at the three locations.”

Jonathan said he has already started the project and is hoping to complete it this month.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediaroup.com.