A Big Idea to Build Little Libraries

A thoughtful community project by Edina Eagle Scout Will Burns.

In the process of becoming an Eagle Scout, 15-year-old Will Burns, an Edina resident and St. Thomas Academy student, and his Boy Scout troop set out to initiate service projects in the community. Will decided to do something unique.

While watching a hockey game with his younger brother, he noticed a number of young kids sitting around doing virtually nothing as they waited for older siblings to finish practice or a game. From this observation, his service project was born.

With the help of the Hitachi Foundation, Cargill Foundation, volunteers, and his dad Bill, Will set up “little libraries” around Edinborough Park, allowing kids to get lost in a story during their wait. Each little library takes about two hours to build, says Will. “There are four, one is on a wagon and the other three are on little carts,” and so far, kids approve.

“I was stocking [a little library] with books one day, and there was this kid that came up to get a book . . . and then came back to me and said, ‘Wow, this is really good,’ ” says Will. He believes improving community is a shared duty: “I feel like everyone should give back in some way, shape or form.”