Big things in small packages

Published 10:13 pm Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sometimes the littlest things have the biggest impact, and that’s true both of Paige Starkey and of the community service project she completed recently.

The petite Paige, an 11-year-old who until very recently attended Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School, created a Little Free Library in front of Mack Benn as part of her Girl Scout Bronze Award project.

This isn’t your ordinary little library, though. Created from a repurposed chicken coop, it’s somewhat larger than most of them, and it’s a great attention-grabber in front of the school. Dubbed the “biggest little library,” it proves that even the smallest things can have an outsize impact.

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Paige, whom her mother, Jennifer Gomes-Laffey, said is very caring and attentive to others, wanted everyone to be able to read all year, because some children may not have access to books during the summer months.

“I built it so that the kids would have the pleasure of reading all year, because it is open year-round,” Paige told a Suffolk News-Herald reporter this week.

Paige learned a lot of new skills while building the library, including how to use a power drill. But she said her favorite part was getting to work together with her family and friends to complete the project.

Little Free Libraries are a concept that has swept the country in recent years. The idea is that you take a book if you like, and you can either keep it after you read it or return it to any Little Free Library, or perhaps pass it to a friend. You can leave books, too. And you should look frequently for new selections, because they are obviously constantly changing.

Paige said she had added both picture books and chapter books to the library and is looking forward to seeing how the library gets used.

Thursday was Paige’s last day as a student at Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School. She will be headed off to John F. Kennedy Middle School next year, and we’re certain she’ll do great things there as well.