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Eagle Scout builds ‘Little Libraries’ to encourage literacy in Beloit

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BELOIT, Ill. (WTVO) — Chris Peterson comes from a family of Boy Scouts, so it was no surprise to anyone who knew the Beloit teen when he decided to join, nearly seven years ago.

Now in his first year as an Eagle Scout, Chris wanted to create something for his Eagle Scout Project that would that would benefit his community long after the project was complete.

Chris built four “little libraries” to house used books. One stands in front of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, at 617 St Lawrence Ave. Three more are set up at each of Beloit’s fire stations.

“I wanted to help the literacy in Beloit, and also do a project that would help the community, and a big enough project to make a difference,” Peterson said. “I decided to make them all for kids, and it’s easy access.”

It took him more than 150 hours of work over six months to build them. “I made a cardboard model and then brought it to the Beloit Fire Chief and we had a meeting. ‘Is this a good idea? Is this a bad idea?’ And we all agreed it was a good idea and went from there,” he said. “Knowing that they’re being well used, they’re being taken care of well, and I see that as the complete value.”

Getting the materials and building the libraries wasn’t the hardest part.

“The weather was the biggest challenge, ’cause I wasn’t able to put them in at certain times I desired, because it would be too icy, or the ground would be too hard,” he said.

The Eagle Scout had the help of his troop, the Beloit Fire Department, and several other community members.

“It’s an awesome opportunity to have fun with the outdoors and kind of express yourself and exit your comfort zone,” he said.

Peterson says he encourages anyone to stop by any one of the little libraries and pick up a book.

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