Eric Daniels takes flight with Little Free Library Eagle Scout Project


Thomas French

A finished Little Free Library created by Eric Daniels in Prospect Park

by Thomas French, Editor

In a world where the ability to read is a big indicator of future success, getting books into the hands of children is critical.

Senior Eric Daniels, a scout in Troop 460, chose to build three Little Free Libraries as his Eagle Scout project, the culminating independent project of the Boy Scout program. These libraries were place in Prospect, Watkins and Wildwood Parks.

Little Free Libraries are a service project started by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks in 2009 to help get free books into the hands of children.

“I really believe in a Little Free Library on every block and a book in every hand. I believe people can fix their neighborhoods, fix their communities, develop systems of sharing, learn from each other, and see that they have a better place on this planet to live,” said Bol.

Little Free Libraries are placed in parks, cities and neighborhood because of their ease of access for families with children. They are small structures, that are not only well made but also very pleasant to look at. The community can also help by donating books to the libraries.

“I chose the Little Free Libraries as my project because I like reading, and I wanted to share my love of reading with the community,” said Daniels.

He got his plans for free from the Little Free Libraries website. His mother and father, Kathy and Lee Daniels, and his grandfather and uncle, George and Kevin Daniels, assisted in the construction and placement of the Little Free Libraries. Daniels also got assistance from fellow seniors Matthew Garofolo, Micah Brown and Thomas French.

Courtesy of Kathy Daniels
Eric Daniels and his uncle, Kevin Daniels planning the library

Before Daniels could start his project, he had to speak in front of the Town Council of Mt. Airy to get his project approved. He then spent his summer building, painting and placing these libraries in the parks.

The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest honor someone can reach in the Boy Scouts, and is a process that can take 10 to 18 months of work to achieve. A boy scout must first achieve Life Rank, earn 21 merit badges and serve as a leader in 3 separate ranks before being eligible for the rank of Eagle Scout.  Only 4% of all scouts are eligible for this rank, and only .3% of scouts achieve it, making it extremely selective. Some notable Eagle Scouts include Gerald Ford, Stephen Spielberg, and Neil Armstrong.

“I had come to far to give up now,” said Daniels. “So many people had quit before they could get their eagle, so I wanted to prove I could earn it.”

“I would say that Eric has shown the fortitude and tenacity to ‘stay to it’. In a scout’s career there are plenty of opportunities to quit, what with school, church, or a job, but Eric stayed true to his initial goal and got it done,” said Jim Morton, Eric’s troop leader.