Local Girl Scout launches rural literacy project

By Kelly Kenoyer
Lebanon Local

A lot of good can get done if a confident and hardworking Girl Scout comes up with a bright idea.
That’s what happened to 14-year-old Cadette Jazmine Jordan, who started thinking about what to do for her silver award. What immediately sprang to mind was an idea to help her rural community with a little lending library.
“The goal is to create a sustainable community service project,” she said of the award, the second highest award offered by the Girl Scouts, and the highest award that a Girl Scout cadette can earn. She decided to focus on literacy.
“If you’re in an area that is outside of city limits, you have to pay for a library card,” Jazmine said.
“Especially with COVID, some people have trouble affording that fee. So it’s just a way so people can read books for free without having to pay for library cards.”
Initially, Jazmine wanted to build the box by hand. But after her mom, Jennifer Jordan, spotted a lending library that had been made from an old newspaper vending box, they decided to see if they could do that instead.
“It sounded like a good way to build the box and it would be recycled instead of using new materials,” she said.
They started calling around to local newspapers, and eventually were able to get a box for free from the Albany Democrat-Herald. Jazmine started painting and decorating it, then sealed it all in with lots of weatherproofing lacquer.

A DECORATED retired newspaper box holds a selection of books available for users to borrow from Jazmine Jordan’s lending library.

Now the box sits out on Walden Road past Waterloo, books ready for the taking. A sign below the window says “Take a book, leave a book!”
The books in the box are mostly for kids right now, Jazmine said. Her favorites are books from the “Series of Unfortunate Events,” and there’s a full set of “Lord of The Rings” available as well.
But, Jazmine said, she’s not done yet. After completing this project, she started thinking about how else she could help. She knew they could get more unwanted newspaper boxes, so Jazmine started thinking about developing a network of helpful libraries and pantries.
“Along with little libraries, we want to try a food pantry with canned food and stuff like that. Maybe one with essentials like toilet paper and deodorant, stuff like that.”
Some local businesses agreed to keep the boxes on their properties: Trash to Treasure in Sweet Home, and Sun Lane Stones in Lebanon.
Her mom suggested having her little sister, 8-year-old fellow Girl Scout Kyleigh, help paint one of the next boxes, and her 13-year-old brother, Isaac, might put together a website.
“We like having it be a family project,” Jennifer said with a smile.
After they’d made the decision to keep the project going, Troop Leader Collette Smith chimed in and said the network would be perfect for the cadet’s gold award project.
The little lending library is already out and available on Walden Road, and Jazmine said the next few boxes will probably go out in a couple months.