For Tyler Frank, 14, and Matt Barba, 13, what started out as an assignment for their Genius Hour class at Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights recently became a reality. They have created and built the very first Little Free Library in Arlington Heights.
Little Free Library is based on the honor system encouraging anyone to take a book, leave a book. Not only does the Little Free Library encourage people to share their favorite stories, it also aims to build a sense of community and spark conversation. Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that has more than 10,000 Little Free Libraries in 50 countries. Thanks to Tyler and Matt, Arlington Heights has been added to the list.
It all started when the two boys were challenged to create something during their Genius Hour class, which is an 80-minute block of time where students must read, write or create. After much research on the organization and the different types of Little Free Library models, the boys decided to create a design with two shelves -- one for kids' books and the other for adult/young adult books. Tyler's grandfather helped the boys cut the wood, paint the library and shingle the miniature roof. Park district staff installed the library.
The boys wanted to locate the Little Free Library at their neighborhood park, Camelot Park. It's located by the Camelot Community Center, providing the library some security while also encouraging residents to enjoy a book while at the pool.
The library is currently stocked with 54 books that the boys filled from their own collection. Now that the Little Free Library is built and available for the public to enjoy, the two boys hope their project will encourage reading while also bring their community together.
Stop by the Camelot Community Center, located at 1005 E. Suffield, to take a book or leave a book. The renovated Camelot building will reopen this fall.