SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Borough residents now have the opportunity to pick up a great new read at three different locations around town courtesy of Jonathan Wasserman's Eagle Scout service project. Wasserman completed his Eagle Scout service project in conjunction with the Spotswood Public Library in September.
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is a lengthy process that includes completing a community service project. The Spotswood High School senior learned that Spotswood Public Library Director C.L. Quillen was interested in building Little Free Libraries throughout the borough from his former neighbor, Elizabeth Lonegan who is an active member of the Friends of the Spotswood Public Library. He was immediately interested.
"I liked the idea of being able to provide something that will benefit the town and the kids," Wasserman said.
Little Free Libraries is the largest community-wide book-sharing movement. The non-profit organization was founded in 2009. The movement to provide books to people of all ages and income brackets boasts countless Little Free Libraries across the globe. Wasserman got the project rolling after a meeting with Quillen.
"I met with Ms. C.L. Quillen at the Spotswood Public Library to review her request to build free little libraries to be used in our community," Wasserman explained. "Having the little libraries around town will encourage reading, literacy, neighborhood friendliness and will promote the Spotswood Public Library."
"During my meeting with Ms. Quillen, we discussed what type of little libraries we would create, how many are needed and the various areas in town where they could be installed," Wasserman continued. "The little libraries needed to be waterproof, easy to use and highly visible."
The Little Free Libraries are conveniently located at the Spotswood School District's Schoenly School on Kane Avenue, the Mundy Avenue Park and outside the Spotswood Public Library on Main Street. Each Little Free Library will also have a registration plaque which identifies that it is sponsored by the Spotswood Public Library.
Each location holds a special place for Wasserman who grew up in the borough along with his two older sisters.
"I have been going to the Spotswood Public library since I was two years old when I attended the Storytime program with my sisters Katie and Samantha," he said.
Wasserman also attended the Schoenly School and his mother, Leslie worked at the school for six years so the school holds a special place especially since Schoenly's principal, Jennifer Asprocolas was Wasserman's sister's teacher at one time.
Asprocolas was excited to bring a little library to the pre-kindergarten through first grade school. Schonely's Little Free Library will also bear a noteworthy plaque in the memory of Spotswood High School English teacher John Chaya. Chaya passed away suddenly last fall.
The Mundy Avenue Park was chosen for its picturesque location.
"Mundy Ave park is a very nice place to relax directly across from Devoe Lake," Wasserman added. "It’s the perfect place to pick up a book, sit down and read."
Wasserman worked to receive funding to build the Little Free Libraries from donations from the Friends of the Spotswood Public Library, Lowes of East Brunswick, the Home Depot of Milltown and Route 18 Lumber of East Brunswick. He secured personal donations for the project as well.
The Little Free Libraries were fashioned almost entirely from wood. They are cemented into the ground so they will remain safely in place. Each will be maintained by the Spotswood Public Library. The libraries were constructed by Wasserman along with help from his fellow scouts and volunteers.
Wasserman starting his scouting journey as a Cub Scout with Pack 35. At the age of 11, he joined Boy Scout Troop 35.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank a scout can achieve within the Boy Scout organization. It's a milestone reached by only a small percentage of Boy Scouts. Since 1912, only five percent of Boy Scouts have been awarded the honor. In order to achieve the ranking of Eagle Scout, scouts must earn 21 badges including camping, cooking, swimming, hiking or cycling, citizenship in the community, citizenship in the nation, citizenship in the world, communications, lifesaving, environmental science, family life, first aid, personal fitness and personal management. Perspective Eagle Scouts must also complete an Eagle Scout service project.
Wasserman will have his final Eagle board of review shortly after New Year's in 2020. At that time, the teen will learn if he has achieved the ranking of Eagle Scout.
Fellow Boy Scout Troop 35 member Matthew Chludzinski earned his Eagle Scout ranking in April of 2017. Chludzinski's Eagle Scout project involved refurbishing the historic Lich Gate to the cemetery of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
The Spotswood Public Library's three Little Free Libraries are now located on the Little Free Library map and are available to residents of all ages looking for something new to read.