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Union teachers, township create book exchange

Union Area School District teachers and the Union Township supervisors have teamed up to share their love for reading with local children.

They have established a Little Free Library in Scotland Meadows Park as a place where youngsters can go to get books free, and put books back in there for others to read. The royal blue hutch on a post is always open for readers to get new books and exchange them with ones they’ve already read.

The small, front-yard book exchange huts number 60,000 around the world in 80 countries, from Iceland to Tasmania to Pakistan, according to information provided by STEM teacher Cindey Eckert. “Union Township will now join the movement to share books, bring people together and create a community of readers.”

“Reading books is such an important part of a child’s life and this year it was harder than ever to get books in the hands of our students,” Eckert wrote in a news release.

Together she and 5th-grade English language arts teacher Natalee Prestopine, came up with the plan for the Little Free Library.

“I love to read, and even though we found some amazing online resources, I still love the feeling of flipping pages and I wanted the kids of our community to have that same opportunity too,” Eckert said.

Prestopine, who has been diligently selecting books for her students and personally tracking them each week, mentioned the idea first. The two teachers enlisted the help of township Supervisor, Rob Eckert, who purchased the materials and built the library hutch on behalf of the township.

It is positioned near the pond at the gazebo in Scotland Meadows, where residents can enjoy a book or two while enjoying the park.

The Little Free Library nonprofit organization has been honored by the Library of Congress, the National Book Foundation and the American Library Association. Reader’s Digest has named the concept as one of the “50 Surprising Things We Love about America.” Each year, nearly 10 million books are shared in Little Free Libraries. To learn more, please visit littlefreelibrary. org.

A Little Free Library children’s book exchange has been established near the gazebo at Scotland Meadows Park.

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