YARDLEY BOROUGH >> The borough’s newest Little Library is officially open for business in front of the Yardley Borough Hall and Post Office.
Eagle Scout candidate Donovan Dolan from Troop 29 in Newtown installed the town’s third Little Library on Saturday next to the bike rack and just behind a bench, a perfect place to sit down and enjoy a good book while watching the world go by on South Main Street.
Built in the shape of a little building and mounted on a post, the Little Library will eventually be filled with books that are free to take home or to a nearby bench to read.
In return, kiosk users are asked to replace the books they borrow with books for others to enjoy. There is no fee or fines imposed for overdue books. And it’s all free and policed by its users.
On Saturday, with help from his brothers, Dylan and Devon, Donovan hollowed out a 30 inch deep hole for the Little Library. They, then filled the hole with loose stone for drainage and then poured quick drying cement into the hole to hold the Little Library in place.
“(Borough Manager) Paula Johnson said people like to read sitting on this bench so it would be nice to have a Little Library here for people to get some books and enjoy this area,” said Donovan. “I thought that was a perfect idea so I got to it.”
Donovan secured approval for his project last March. The pandemic, however, forced him to postpone fundraising until August when he was able to organize a car wash to pay for materials.
With money secured for the project, he placed an order for supplies through the national Little Free Library organization. And throughout September and October he worked on sanding down, painting and finishing the post and Little Library kiosk.
As part of the process, Donovan had to work with and secure approvals from the borough’s Historic Architectural Review Board since the Little Library would be erected in the borough’s historic district.
“He handled it well,” said Johnson of his appearances before HARB. “They asked him to come back with ideas and suggestions, which he did. And he did a good job with the entire project.”
“I’m really happy with the way it came out,” said Donovan. “The hardest part was the painting and the sanding. It was a long process.”
Borough residents no doubt have noticed the little kiosks that have popped up in recent months in Yardley Borough, including one on Morgan Avenue in Rivermawr and the other on Pennsylvania Avenue in The Flats.
The Little Free Library movement began in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse, filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard in tribute to his mother - a teacher.
Rick Brooks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison saw Bol’s prototype and together they expanded the project to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges.
The partnership led to the founding of the Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.
Today, millions of books are exchanged each year through more than 80,000 Little Libraries in all 50 states and 90-plus countries, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.
Donovan, a senior at Council Rock North High School, began his Scouting adventure at the age of 11 following in the footsteps of his brother, Dylan, a Troop 29 Eagle Scout and a student at Kutztown University where he is studying to become a secondary school teacher.
Along his path to Eagle, Donovan has earned close to 40 merit badges (he counts archery among his favorites) and has risen through the ranks to Life Scout, the second highest rank in Scouting. He is currently serving as a senior patrol leader with the troop, which is sponsored by the Lutheran Church of God’s Love in Newtown and is part of the Washington Crossing Council.
Donovan, the son of Ken and Jean Dolan of Newtown, plans on attending college following graduation to study either science or engineering.