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Little Free Libraries pop up at Carnegie, Crafton elementaries

| Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, 10:39 a.m.
Jim Spezialetti | Tribune-Review
The Little Free Library outside Crafton Elementary School was designed by members of Carlynton’s Interact Club.
Jim Spezialetti | Tribune-Review
The Little Free Library at Carnegie Elementary School was made by students in Carlynton’s Interact Club.

Going to the library just got a little easier in the Carlynton School District thanks to members of the high school's Interact Club.

A Little Free Library, more than 2 feet by 2 feet in size, has been placed in planters outside both Carnegie and Crafton elementary schools.

Affixed to a wooden post in a planter that can be moved, they can hold a dozen books comfortably.

“They are filled with books,” said Chelsie Fris, an English teacher who helped revive the Interact Club in February.

Fris said the books are for young readers up to the junior-high level. There are even some cookbooks that adults can use with their children.

“It's always nice to see kids reading for pleasure,” said Fris, who plans to register the libraries with the Little Free Library organization, an international movement to promote literacy. Passers-by may take or donate free reading materials on the honor system.

Fris has a little library on her street in Pittsburgh's Highland Park neighborhood, but she noticed a lack of them west of the city.

When she asked club members if they wanted to build little libraries, the students were on board.

The club has about 20 members in grades seven through 12. Its goal is to get students to volunteer and participate in community events. The little libraries are one way to better the community.

The project received a boost from Chuck Henke of Carnegie, whose daughter Megan is a member of the club.

When she told her father about the project, he was willing to lend a hand with the construction.

He learned about the concept from a friend at work whose son was building a little library for his Eagle Scout project.

“I think it's a great idea. It's a good way to get kids involved,” Henke said.

Henke had scrap wood at home and, with his daughter's help, constructed two libraries.

“They were going to buy them for $200. I've done enough remodeling around the house to build a little library,” Henke said.

The little libraries were painted by the students.

Fris said the Little Free Library supports Andrew Carnegie's belief of offering free public libraries, which ties back to the community's roots.

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805 or jspezialetti@tribweb.com.

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