Jonathan loves reading. Always has. It seems only fitting that he decided to build some Little Free Libraries for his Eagle Scout Project. These libraries will provide a repository for people in the community to take a book and/or share a book.
“I want to do this project because I have always found joy in reading a good book. Ever since I was in elementary school, I have loved to read. With this project, I hope to spread my love for reading with others, especially those who might not have access to books on a regular basis.”
When he started thinking about where to place the libraries, Jonathan thought of the communities and places on Maui that had meaning to him. With the assistance of his mentor Lawrence Kauha'aha'a, he decided to place one in Wailuku Town near Īao Theatre (outside the Market Street Safety Office). Another will be housed outside Wailuku Hongwanji Mission Buddhist Temple, which is the sponsoring organization for his Boy Scout Troop. The third will be placed at Noho'ana Farm in Waikapū.
What started as a building project has evolved into a larger collaboration, with SMALL TOWN * BIG ART and his Little Free Libraries joining in an effort to build community through the arts. "SMALL TOWN * BIG ART is a 2018-2020 creative placemaking pilot project to help position Wailuku, Maui, Hawai‘i as a public arts district that is focused on its distinctive sense of place, history and culture." It is funded by a National Endowment of the Arts grant.
Jonathan and about 30 of his fellow Troop 40 scouts and adult leaders have built three Little Free Libraries over the past few days at Noho’ana Farm. Today he met with Maui-born artist Amanda Joy Bowers, who is part of SMALL TOWN * BIG ART and who has graciously offered to paint the libraries. And at First Friday later this week, his Little Free Library will be part of a larger unveiling of a 250-pound sculpture of a hīna’i (woven basket) created by SMALL TOWN * BIG ART artist Jessica Bodner, with whom he met yesterday.
It is inspiring to me how Jonathan’s project has brought together so many different aspects of our lives. The ‘ōlelo no’eau (Hawaiian proverb) on which the collaboration is based — “A 'ohe hana nui ke alu 'ia” - No task is too big when done together by all — has embodied this community-building experience.
The last component of Jonathan’s Eagle Project is a BOOK DRIVE, which will be held at FIRST FRIDAY on Market Street. Some of the books will be used to kick start the libraries, and the remainder will be donated to the Maui United Way for distribution to its partner agencies. BOOKS FOR ALL AGES ARE WELCOME.
Please stop by Kīpuka Square (near 'Īao Theatre) on January 3, between 6 and 9 p.m. to check out Jonathan’s Little Free Library, see Jessica Bodner’s work of art, donate a book(s), and learn more about SMALL TOWN * BIG ART.
Here are some photos from these past few days of building. Please also consider following SMALL TOWN * BIG ART on FB or Instagram to read more about this collaboration and see what other amazing work has already been done for the Wailuku community.
Looking forward to seeing folks this Friday!
1/1/20 UPDATE: Happy New Year! Request Music on Market Street has offered to serve as a drop-off location for those who would like to donate books, but cannot make it to First Friday. They will be open this Thursday and Friday from 10-6 and welcome any new or gently used books you would like to contribute to Jonathan's book drive. HUGE MAHALO to Request Music, and Joe and Shannon Alueta for their kokua! What an incredible community we have on Maui. SMALL TOWN BIG ART