Bellefonte

On Centre: Around Bellefonte | Girl Scouts’ little free library close to making Talleyrand Park debut

The junior Girl Scouts of Troop 40023 built a little free library that is set to be installed at Talleyrand Park. Standing, left to right: Emily Confer, 11, Norah Fisher, 11, Ayriella Spicer, 12, Victoria Clouser, 11, Katie Fritz, 11. Kneeling, left to right: Gabrielle Brezler, 10, Adelaide Overdurf, 10, Isabella Stania, 10
The junior Girl Scouts of Troop 40023 built a little free library that is set to be installed at Talleyrand Park. Standing, left to right: Emily Confer, 11, Norah Fisher, 11, Ayriella Spicer, 12, Victoria Clouser, 11, Katie Fritz, 11. Kneeling, left to right: Gabrielle Brezler, 10, Adelaide Overdurf, 10, Isabella Stania, 10 CDT photo

You’ve just taken a nice stroll to Talleyrand Park on a warm day. You’ve fed the ducks, and you’re settling down on a nearby bench to do a little light reading.

But then you discover you’ve forgotten your book. Your options are either to scrap your reading time, or walk all the way back to your home and retrieve your book.

However, a third option will be available soon. Thanks to the Bellefonte junior Girl Scouts of Troop 40023, the park will soon be getting its own little free library.

Little free libraries have been popping up all around the nation since the first one was built in Wisconsin in 2009, according to littlefreelibrary.org. Since then, they have found their way into numerous communities and the hearts of readers and community-minded residents.

The libraries can be small boxes, enough for a dozen books or so, or larger structures with several shelves for many books. The spirit of each library remains the same, however, in the simple notion of “take a book, leave a book.”

Two libraries already exist in Bellefonte, former troop leader Jennifer Zeigler said: at the intersections of West Curtin and North Spring streets, and at East Linn and North Wilson streets.

The girls of Troop 40023 started their journey toward building a library in January, Zeigler said, when the troop started to pursue the Girl Scout Bronze award. The award is described as “a leadership adventure and the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve,” according to girlscouts.org.

Scout Annalee Concklin was the first to bring the idea to her fellow troopmates, said Isabella Stania, 10, of Bellefonte. The girls then voted on a project, with the library beating ideas for a bat house and a pet adoption project.

“The project had to be a project that benefited Girl Scouts or the community,” Zeigler said. “It could be an event or a project that would stay in the community.”

The girls said they started building the library around the end of summer using an old cabinet as a start. The cabinet was decorated with the Girl Scout emblem around the face and painted dark green, neon green and purple. The project was finished by September.

One of the biggest obstacles they faced was bringing the proposal for the library before the Borough Council.

“We had to go to the Bellefonte borough meeting,” Gabrielle Brezler, 10, of Bellefonte, said, “and we all had a job. One of the jobs was to ask if we could come and present the project and see if it was OK.”

The proposal was passed unanimously by the council at the Sept. 15 meeting.

The girls said they wanted to have the library placed by the gazebo in the park, but Bellefonte Parks and Recreation committee members felt it would be better near the train station where a security camera could watch it.

Committee members and volunteers are working to find a suitable place for the library, Assistant Borough Manager Don Holderman said.

“We don’t want to dig where there’s a waterline,” he said, “so we’re checking into some minor things right now.”

Once the library is placed, Zeigler said, it will be registered with littlefreelibrary.org to be placed on the national map of libraries.

The girls are definitely proud of the hard work they put into earning their reward.

“We’re awesome,” Isabella said.

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