A new ‘Little Free Library’ has found its home in the City of Newberry, thanks to Christopher Hubbard, 17, of the Waxhaw Troop 53 out of North Carolina. Hubbard recently installed the library in Oakland Park, 1448 First Street in Newberry as part of his Eagle Scout project.
The addition makes the second City park to house a Little Free Library, the first being at Wise Street Park, 2420 Holloway Street.
Hubbard’s project, he said was inspired by his grandmother and uncle, both whom have had an influence on his life.
“My grandmother was an immigrant from Greece and came over right after the Civil War of Greece,” Hubbard said. “During that time in that country they were burning books, documents, churches and everything that really helped bring knowledge to their people because they were trying to make a point politically with the issues going on within the country at that time.”
After coming to America, Hubbard said his grandmother promised herself that she would always keep books in her home to ensure that her daughter, Hubbard’s mother, would have the opportunity to read and grow.
The purpose of an Eagle Scout project, Hubbard said is to demonstrate leadership while giving back to your community and he wanted to pursue his project in Newberry, his grandmother’s home and felt it would give back in the best way through the power of knowledge.
Hubbard’s uncle, he said unfortunately passed away was pursuing his Eagle Scout rank so while the Little Free Library was a huge tribute to his grandmother, it was also a project he felt would have made his uncle proud. A plaque can be found on the project in their memory.
“I think they would have really liked it,” Hubbard said.
With his grandmother’s home located on Henry Avenue across the street from Oakland Park, Hubbard said he felt that was a great location for the library.
“You can actually see the library from her home, so I thought it definitely had to be the location for it,” he said.
The purpose of Little Free Libraries are with the philosophy of “give a book, take a book,” Hubbard said. However, if you don’t have a book to donate, he said he would be keeping an eye on the location. Although currently living in North Carolina, Hubbard said he stops by Newberry often and has been actively collecting books that can be used to refill the library if it needs to be restocked.
Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer said he had fond memories growing up when the bookmobile would come through his neighborhood on a Saturday morning.
“Sometimes it would stop near my house, or sometimes a few blocks away, but it was always an exciting time,” Sawyer said. “It’s neat how the Little Free Libraries can now be available all the time in some of our neighborhoods.”
Hubbard said he planned to reach out to local boy scout troops in the Newberry area to see if they would be willing to keep an eye out on his project, making sure books were stocked for community service hours.
“I hope everyone will come out and take a look at it,” Hubbard said. “I think it turned out really well and I hope the City enjoys it!”
City Manager Matt DeWitt said he believed that reading was one of the most powerful tools we had as a society.
“If you are able to educate yourself through reading, your opportunities are endless, and I think that’s what the Little Free Libraries provide…hope for endless opportunities,” DeWitt said. “I think that’s a message that anyone can support.”
For more information on all of the Little Free Libraries in throughout Newberry County and in other areas near you, visit https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap and type in the zip code.