book boxes

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moeller

Eagle Scout Benjamin Moeller created free box libraries for his Eagle Scout project. The box libraries are located in Monarch and Creekside parks in Brentwood.

Benjamin Moeller knows how important it is for young people to make reading a priority in their lives. For his Eagle Scout Service Project, he created Book Boxes for Brentwood, a design enabling children to have easy access to free reading.

Box libraries, also called Little Free Libraries, are a box or shelf of books set up in various locations such as a front yard or recreational site. People can visit the mini library, read a book and return it or take it home and replace it with a different book.

Book boxes have been popular since 2009, when Todd Bol, the founder of Little Free Libraries, thought to create a tiny library out of wood from his old garage door. After receiving positive feedback from the community, Bol founded Little Free Library, a global non-profit organization and movement that soon inspired people to establish box libraries worldwide.

Moeller, a member of Troop 159 in Brentwood, was moved to create box libraries because of a personal connection to books.

“My main inspiration for my project was my love of reading as a kid,” said Moeller. “When I lived in Seattle, Washington, these box libraries were fairly common. When I moved to California, I was sad to see that they are not as common here. I decided that my mark on my community would be to make two such boxes and put them where many children would have the opportunity to see the boxes regularly and develop a love of reading from them.”

Moeller built library boxes in two different parks to associate reading with play and promote the idea that reading is a fun activity. The boxes were set up in Monarch and Creekside parks. All books in the boxes are provided through community donations.

“My deepest wish for my project is that it will inspire others to make their own boxes,” he said. “Whether it be in their own yards or another park, I hope more boxes are made to spread easily accessible reading material.”

An incoming senior at De La Salle High School, Moeller has been a boy scout for eight years.

“For as long as I’ve known him, Ben has been a helpful and courteous boy scout,” said Troop 159 Scoutmaster Curtis Frise. “who teaches skills to the younger scouts and is always up for high-adventure challenges,”

Frise has loved seeing how Benjamin’s project has benefited the community.

“This project has had a positive impact on the community by promoting reading and making books more accessible to local children,” said Frise.

Moeller is delighted by the positive responses the project has already received from the community.

“From my neighbor’s compliments to Mayor Taylor speaking well of it, my project appears to have been well received. I love to see that what I have built with the help of many volunteers is bringing the community so much joy,” he said.

Ben’s father, Bob Moeller, said in addition to providing access to books during play, “Book Boxes for Brentwood” has a larger goal.

“At its heart, ‘Book Boxes for Brentwood’ is a literacy campaign for those less fortunate that may not be able to purchase books. Ben wants all children to have access to books and work on their reading and comprehension skills … If Ben’s project influences even ten children to learn more and be better readers, this will have been a huge success,” he said.

To visit one of Brentwood’s book boxes, stop by Monarch Park at 760 Bella Drive or Creekside Park at Claremont Drive and Crescent Drive.