Campbell student installs ‘Free Little Library’

If the Clark County Public Library is closed, don’t fret, as there’s another option for book lovers in front of College Park Gym.

Brayden Whiteside, 12, built and installed a Free Little Library at College Park. It’s open 24 hours, and there’s a great selection for all ages, he said.

Brayden is a seventh grader at Campbell Junior High School, enrolled in advanced courses, which means he gets to do a project for Amazing Shake. Campbell’s Amazing Shake program is inspired by the national program that teaches students professional, discipline and soft skills such as interviewing, respect, eye contact and a proper handshake.

At Campbell, students also have to complete a community service project.

Amazing Shake started at Campbell last year with seventh graders in advanced classes completing a community service project during which they collected hygiene products for veterans and put together a project for the school’s annual Veterans Day program.

Leah Adams, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at RDC, previously told The Sun she and other staff learned about Amazing Shake while visiting Mason County schools.

Campbell expanded Amazing Shake this year to include eighth graders in advanced classes in addition to the seventh graders in advanced classes. The ultimate goal is for every student in Campbell to participate in the program in 2021.

Brayden also competed in the Gauntlet competition Monday.

About 120 students competed in the in-house Gauntlet competition, during which students went through various stations such as making a bed, handling disgruntled parents, making a pitch for a hair care product and more to test the soft skills learned throughout the year. Winners from that competition will move on to other rounds to determine who will move on to the national competition at Ron Clark Academy in 2020.

Brayden created a Free Little Library at College Park as his Amazing Shake project. It was the first time he had ever done a community service project.

With the help of his father and grandfather, he built the little library and placed it at the entrance of College Park Gym.

“It was really fun to make it,” Brayden said. “It was me, my dad and my grandfather… we all made it together.”

Brayden said while building it was his favorite part, it was also one of the most challenging parts of the project.

“It took quite a while to get it built,” he said.

Lowe’s, teachers and others donated supplies to make the library complete. The Free Little Library officially “opened” Nov. 1.

Now, anyone can stop by and borrow one of the many books inside. There are about 40 books from which to choose.

“I decided to do a free little library, which is a tiny library that is for all ages,” Brayden said. “The reason why I chose this is because it can up the literacy scores because they have been dropping in schools significantly.”

Brayden said he chose College Park because it’s a highly-trafficked area.

“People can just walk to it, or if they’re an adult dropping their kids off at the park, they can just walk, stop by, get a book,” he said.

People can also leave books in the library for others to use, Brayden said.

Brayden said reading is important for everyone; people use reading in almost every aspect of their lives. It sparks imagination and opens minds, he said.

Brayden said he learned a lot from doing this project. He learned how to build something, how to give a good presentation and how to speak in front of people.

Brayden had to go in front of the Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation Board to get permission to put the library out front.

Brayden said he may do more projects in the future, especially if people want more little libraries throughout town.

Brayden’s mother, Cindy Whiteside, said she loved seeing her son put together the project, and she was impressed with the Amazing Shake program as a whole.

“I love that the school is doing the Amazing Shake projects because it inspires kids to get out there and get their feet wet in community service,” Whiteside said. “It’s so important for people in our community to get involved and to give back to the community. That kind of sparks that fire for them and helps them to think of ways that they can do that. So I think that’s fantastic that the school is doing that.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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