Submitted by Scott Menhinick
This year’s Stephentown Memorial Library (SML) Scholarship, which recognizes a local, college-bound senior for his or her service to the community, has been awarded to Berlin High School salutatorian, Amanda Despart. A member of the Girl Scouts, Stephentown Fire Department, and other community-minded organizations, Ms. Despart received her $1000 prize on June 26 during the unveiling ceremony for her Girl Scout Gold Award project, a free lending library she designed, built and installed on the SML grounds.
Part of a network of Little Free Libraries (littlefreelibrary.org) placed at locations all around the world, this new kiosk, provides take-and-share access to donated reading materials for all ages 24 hours a day.
Amanda says her idea started a year ago, because she always loved to read, but had forgotten her book while on vacation. She came across one of these free lending libraries and the project began to take shape. “I love that my project has the ability to inspire others to be the change they wish to see in our community. I have always cherished the ability to use reading as an escape, and I want others to experience that as well. Many people have helped me throughout this process through donations, however, Mike Broderick and my parents were my biggest help.”
This library is registered online through www.littlefreelibrary.org with the charter number 74473.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the equivalent of the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout award, and requires the same amount of commitment and service to earn. Ms. Despart will begin her freshman year at the University of Rochester in the fall.