“Do a good turn daily” is the slogan of the Boy Scouts of America. Kaleb Tangen, 15, of Fairfield Bay did just that on Saturday when his Eagle Scout project culminated in the installation of a Little Free Library for the Fox community.
The project took Kaleb much longer than a day to complete, including pitching his project, finding a design, making a materials list, pricing the materials, recruiting and directing members of his scout troop on the construction project, installation, and stocking of the library with books.
The little library is installed on the picket fence at the Taylor Center across from Rural Special School and contains books for all ages and interests.
Kaleb got the idea for the Little Free Library project from his aunt Karen Tangen who is the Fairfield Bay librarian. The free-standing wooden libraries hold books for community members to borrow and read, all on the honor system with a slogan of “take a book, leave a book.” The concept was launched in 2009 and has grown to more than 50,000 libraries worldwide. The nearest registered Little Free Library is at Norfork.
Karen has pledged her ongoing help in keeping the little library at Fox stocked with discarded library books. The two-sided little library will hold about 75-100 books, depending on their size. One side has books for adult readers, and the other contains children’s books.
To begin the project, Kaleb searched for prospective communities that did not have a public library. He emailed the librarian at Rural Special School who forwarded his inquiry to Renee Carr. Carr said, “The Little Free Library had been on my wish list since I learned about it from the community of Mt. Judea.”
She approached the board of Rural Educational Heritage Inc. for approval, and then it was a go. “After all, who could resist such a nice gift to the community,” she added.
Earlier in the year former Rural Special student Joel Patterson, who now resides in Cambridge, Mass., had made a donation to Rural Educational Heritage. Carr contacted Patterson to see if he would approve of using part of his donation for the materials for the Little Free Library. Now a teacher, Patterson was enthusiastically supportive of the project that will encourage reading and sharing books among people of every age in the community where he grew up.
In addition to operating an ABC Preschool, books and reading have been a focus of Rural Educational Heritage Inc. The organization supports the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which each month mails a new book to every child from birth to age 5 in Rural Special School’s boundaries. Individual donors like Patterson and organizational supporters such as Antioch General Baptist Church and Zion Baptist Church provide funding to make this possible.
Reflecting on the Eagle Project, Kaleb said, “I learned a lot from this project. It’s exciting to finish the little library and see all the books in it.” Kaleb acknowledged his dad, who patiently taught him construction skills, as well as the good support of his fellow scouter, Ashton Klepko, whose own Eagle Scout project will take place over the coming weeks.
Kaleb Tangen is the son of Tom and Linda Tangen and is a member of Troop # 401 at Fairfield Bay. He is a junior high student at West Side Greers Ferry where he participates in tennis and basketball. Carr hopes to schedule a dedication of the Little Free Library when the West Side Eagles travel to Rural Special for a basketball game on Dec. 12. She added, “Doing a good turn for your community is a wonderful thing, but doing one for your neighboring community brings it to a whole new level of goodwill.”
In the meantime, Kaleb has plans for a few more Little Free Libraries for nearby communities, but he is especially pleased with the first one, and the community of Fox is grateful to be the recipient.
From the Oct. 18, 2017 issue.