Girl Scouts draw neighborhood readers

By Caroline Wilburn
Special to the Prosper Press
Located at the entrance of the neighborhood "Lakes of Prosper," the new Little Free Library holds books donated by the Girl Scouts and other community members. Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization promotes book exchanges in neighborhoods and communities. “I think this is an amazing way to open up to the community and have a big group project,” Girl Scout Carsyn Overstreet said. “I always loved free little libraries being near my school and near my neighborhood. I think it's just a great way to have interaction with our community.”

Troop No. 8415 uses cookie sale money to share books with others. Drilling the last screw into the box, the girls stand back in awe of what they have created.

Girl Scout Troop No. 8415 recently installed a Little Free Library on April 27 by the entrance of neighborhood Lakes of Prosper. This project earned the girls their Bronze award, the first step toward earning their Gold Award.  

“The premise that the girls initially got started with was to reduce, reuse, recycle,” Girl Scout leader Kalli Overstreet said. “They came up with a ton of different options, and one was to reuse books, since we all had books. We got in contact with the local neighborhood here, and the HOA and it just kinda spawned.” 

Little Free Library, a 501 nonprofit organization, promotes book exchanges in neighborhoods. The organization began in Hudson, Wisconsin. More than 90,000 Little Free Libraries now exist.

“I think this is an amazing way to open up to the community and have a big group project,” Girl Scout Carsyn Overstreet said. “I always loved free little libraries being near my school and near my neighborhood. I think it's just a great way to have interaction with our community.”

The girls paid for the supplies with money they earned from their cookie sales. 

“They got to make something with their hands and get involved,” Lakes of Prosper resident Sam DiFabio said. “By doing stuff like this, to create something and make a project like this, you’re getting out of the house and benefitting your community. That's huge for people, especially at such a young age." 

The girls assembled the Little Free Library at a previous meeting, and by their next meeting installed it.

“I’m most excited for everybody to see all the books we’ve put out and to share all of these books,” Jillian Downs said. “A lot of these books I put out I enjoyed a lot. I want other people to see this, and I love the books.”

Lakes of prosper resident and community member Kelly DiFabio said she is excited and believes literacy is a valuable tool we can offer each other. 

“It only improves us as people and as a community and neighbors,” DiFabio said. “I think the concept is really cool, where you drop off a book and take a book. You never know what you can discover at something like this. It was such a cool project they did. I’m proud of them.”

Mother and scout leader Jennifer Downs said the Girl Scout organization is a great way for girls to build character and make lifelong friendships. 

"These girls have been together since they were in kindergarten, " Downs said. "They have intentions to go all the way through high school and get their gold award. Because they’ve known each other so long, they have this history with each other."

The troop is made of fifth-grade girls that all attend elementary schools in the Prosper Independent School District.

“My favorite part about Girl Scouts is probably all the fun things we get to do and all the challenges we have to go through," Girl Scout Lilly Moore said. "But, we always get to do it with our friends."

The troop participates in activities such as camping, service projects and learning first aid.

"We’ve watched these girls start from being scared of bugs and outside and nighttime, to tackling new adventures," Overstreet said. "When they're scared, or brave, it's really neat to watch them overcome it. They all support each other just as much as we support them, and that's pretty cool."