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Enka High Students Build Little Free Libraries
Enka High Students Build Little Free Libraries
Posted on 03/24/2021
A woodworking student holds an nail gun against one of the little free libraries.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Ten Enka-blue library boxes are being installed in parks and recreational facilities throughout the county, thanks to the dedicated students in Mr. Eddie Smith’s woodworking classroom at Enka High School (EHS).

The students who built the “little free libraries” say they hope this project provides a convenient way for park-goers to connect with each other through sharing their favorite books.

“It makes me feel good to get more books out there in the community,” said EHS junior Austin Kerstetter, who helped build the doors and weather sealing on the library boxes. “It’s spreading knowledge around and helping people see new books they might not otherwise see.”

In October 2019, Buncombe County Recreation Services (BCRS) reached out to Mr. Smith asking if his students would be interested in building little free libraries. Mr. Smith added the project to his class schedule, but COVID-19 forced him to push it back a year. His students have been dividing labor in a sort of assembly line to finish all 10 of the little free libraries this semester.

A woodworking student holds an nail gun against one of the little free libraries. “It’s challenging but straightforward,” said EHS sophomore Aiden Jones. “You get the raw materials, measure what you're trying to do, cut, and put everything together. It’s cool to watch the process from start to finish.”

Mr. Smith, an award-winning Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher, is known for instilling pride in his students, as well as his passion for the craft. He organizes real-life projects for his students with community partners, creates a safety-oriented mindset in the workshop, and provides an opportunity for students to earn national certifications.

“I want students to see many different things and how they’re made,” he said. “I stress to them that everything they make has their name on it, my name on it, and Enka High School’s name on it. So I want them to do their very best, be proud of what they do, and – in this case – see their project in their own community.”

Chris Bubenik, a planner with BCRS, said the little free libraries will be placed in Cane Creek Park, Charles D. Owen Park, Hominy Creek River Park/French Broad River Greenway, Karpen Soccer Fields, and Lake Julian Park. In April, the community will help choose additional locations through a voting process. Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Public Libraries, Buncombe County Schools, and the POP Project have all offered to stock books as the libraries are installed throughout the county.

“This collaboration with Buncombe County Schools creates new, convenient, unrestricted access points for free books,” Mr. Bubenik said. "Establishing these little free libraries fosters community sharing networks, promotes wellness habits and literacy development, and builds on the mountain spirit of all Buncombians. Much like Buncombe County Public Libraries, public book exchanges deliver on the promise that making books available to everyone results in a more resilient community with involved citizens who are able to lead more informed and successful lives.”

Check out this WLOS ABC 13 News Never Stop Learning segment about the little free libraries.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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