Skip to main content

Chester County Press

Eagle Scout project provides books to children in Oxford

07/19/2021 09:52PM ● By Steven Hoffman

All Eagle Scout projects improve the community, but in the Oxford area it is very evident how prolific Oxford’s Boy Scout Troop 13 has been. Projects can be seen everywhere.

Recently the Oxford Library, the Oxford Arts Alliance and Arts Holding Hands and Hearts (AHHAH) were involved with the Eagle Scout Project of Ryan Waite. A recent graduate of Oxford Area High School, Waite plans to continue his education and major in statistics with a minor in sports administration.

Waite learned much throughout his project, and part of that is sometimes “plan B” is the better way to go. He explained, “My first plan didn’t work, so with a little help from my mom, we went to {Oxford Library director) Carey Bresler at the Oxford Library. And after a lot of planning with my scout troop, I decided on a P.U.L.L. (Pop-up-Lending Library) Station. My project had to be approved as an Eagle Scout Project first. It involves many hours of work with my troop. I need to lead my troop from start to finish on planning, securing materials and, in this case, building and installation. It also required very careful record keeping. I have volumes of material, diagrams, texts, emails and photos.”

The finished project was installed in the rain, but Waite said, “Our spirits were high when we were doing that.” 

The location chosen was outside of the Arts Alliance building at 38 S. Third Street. That was given careful consideration, too, since school children have a bus stop at that exact location. It is convenient for children to pick up books on their way to school.

The project was built in one weekend and included designing, cutting, and putting it together. Oxford Arts Alliance student artist Anna Kline decorated the piece. Kline’s art has been on exhibit at the Oxford Arts Alliance.

Bresler, explained that it all came together perfectly.

“Jen from AHHAH, had just reached out to me about a P.U.L.L. station here in Oxford,” she explained. “They provided the funding and Ryan had a project.”

“Gathering books was never a problem,” said Tony Derrico, the Oxford Arts Alliance executive director. Students and parents were bringing books when they came to their music and art lessons. The Alliance has 150 students attending lessons each week. Caitlyn Dougherty is the art director at the OAA.

“I am very proud of this joint project,” Derrico said.

Oxford Library board member Karen Hovis expressed her feelings on the joint project. “It really was a win, win,” she said. “It is exciting to see how everyone in this community works together.”

For Waite this project was a labor of love.

“I have always been passionate about reading. I got that from my parents. I read all of the Harry Potter books. It really meant something to me to be able to help kids get books,” he said.

Another Pop-Up Lending Library Station is ready for installation. It will be installed outside of the Neighborhood Services building and will be filled with children's books to be shared throughout the community. It was also built by Waite for his Eagle Scout Project for Troop 13 and decorated by Kline. 

The Oxford Library is accepting donations of Children’s Books for this initiative.

The local non-profit Arts Holding Hands and Hearts is behind the creation of these libraries throughout the region with P.U.L.L. Stations in Coatesville, Kennett Square and now Oxford.  The goal of the P.U.L.L. stations is particularly geared toward younger readers to provide good books and to encourage families to read together to increase literacy and bonding and, of course, fun. Studies have shown that there are beneficial, long-term effects when a child has early exposure to reading. P.U.L.L. stations are filled with both donated books and new books purchased with grants and donations. They also include books in Spanish as well as books that support diversity, community building and caring. 

Bresler said that plans to increase the P.U.L.L. stations in Oxford Borough continue. 

“We hope to eventually have 20 of these stations,” she said. 

For more information about this project, please visit Arts Holding Hands and Hearts at: