Lakota East senior creates free library

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Kate Fulmer, a senior at Lakota East, created a Little Free Library at Woodland Elementary, helping her earn a Girl Scouts Gold Award.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Kate Fulmer can’t put down a good book.

That’s why the Lakota East senior naturally gravitated toward creating a Little Free Library for Woodland Elementary School as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award.

The library is located inside a brightly decorated and renovated newspaper box in the Liberty Twp. school’s picnic table area. It came about after Leah Aguilar of the Butler County Little Free Library Initiative came to speak to the Girl Scout troop.

“I’ve always been a fan of reading, so I was really interested in that,” Fulmer said. “Our friends and family donated around 2,000 books.”

Fulmer said she is thankful so many people helped her with the project and is excited to see where it goes and how children react to it.

“I really hope that they take advantage and read as many books as they can and really just find a love of reading,” Fulmer said.

The yearlong effort includes help with design and painting from Fulmer’s sister, Savannah, who graduated from Bowling Green State University in May with a bachelor’s degree in fine art. The final project is a noticeable canary yellow decorated with colorful birds, butterflies, ladybugs, flora and fauna.

“We wanted something fun,” Kate Fulmer said

In addition, Fulmer has volunteered 30 hours of her time this summer toward working with at-risk readers by providing buddy-reading opportunities through the summer literacy program of the Faith Alliance of West Chester/Liberty Township.

Stephanie Fulmer, Kate’s mother and a gifted intervention specialist at Woodland Elementary, said she is proud her daughter persevered with the project despite several roadblocks along the way.

“It has been very fulfilling to watch her,” she said. “(The summer literacy effort) was just 30 hours. She’s spent so much more time solving problems and trying to figure out how to convert this box into an attractive place for kids to want to come and read.”

John Wise, principal of Woodland Elementary, said Kate Fulmer’s project is “a great sign of our young people, in general, willing to give back to schools and school districts.”

“The fact that she wasn’t (a student) here just shows what kind of character she has, that she sees a need for our young students here at Woodland to be able to tap into a free resource,” Wise said. “She’s an amazing young lady that’s really reached out and done great things for our school.”

Mayleigh Sharp, a Woodland fourth-grader, said she planned to frequently use Fulmer’s Little Free Library

“It’s a great place to get a book,” she said. “You can just sit there and put it back if you want to let other people look at it, too.”

Her brother, second-grader Mason Sharp, said he liked the concept of the free library because “you can get a book whenever you want when you go here.”

Glenna Stricklett, a committee adviser for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Gold Award Committee, said Fulmer has done “a fabulous job” with the Little Free Library.

“The big things that we look at are the leadership skills that are developed and the sustainability, and certainly this is something that will be sustainable years after Kate leaves this area, you know, goes off to college. I think you could demonstrate today her leadership skills just by talking to the public and people she got involved with it.”

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