Trumbull Nature and Arts Center gets literary boost from Eagle Scout

Julian Zeppetello, 16, recently built and installed two Little Free Libraries at the Trumbull Nature and Arts Center as part of his Eagle Scout project. With the help of other Troop 62 members, the work was completed in about 100 hours.

Julian Zeppetello, 16, recently built and installed two Little Free Libraries at the Trumbull Nature and Arts Center as part of his Eagle Scout project. With the help of other Troop 62 members, the work was completed in about 100 hours.

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TRUMBULL —The Trumbull Nature and Arts Center may soon need to change its name to reflect a new literary component, courtesy of a local Boy Scout.

“We have Eagle Scout candidates here that ask if there’s anything we need that they can do for their Eagle project,” said Sheryl Baumann, consulting director of the center. “We had heard about these Little Free Libraries that were popping up, and we thought it would be a great project.”

The project also had a dual-purpose of providing a community resource, she said.

“We know they (scouts) have the skills, and it also could be a good resource for the community,” she said.

The libraries are about the size of a postal collection box and serve as a free book sharing site. Readers can take and leave books any time. Plans to build a Little Free Library are available on the organization’s website. The website also includes locations of various libraries, including five in Trumbull, mostly installed in front of private homes. In Trumbull, there are libraries on Saxony Drive, Hill Circle, Louis Street, Brookside Drive and Midland Road.

About a year ago, Julian Zeppetello, 16, decided to take up the challenge of building not just one, but two of the libraries for the center — one for children’s books and another for adults. With the help of some other scouts from Troop 62, he completed the project in about a month. The total time worked out to about 100 hours spread out among the volunteers, and included clearing overgrowth from the center’s butterfly garden, where they installed the libraries.

“It went pretty well. We got the blueprints and a bunch of us got to work,” he said. “We started the beginning of October and we finished before the end of the month.”

With the libraries completed, they lacked only books to get started. That was where Pam Roman came in.

Roman had been a volunteer at the center ever since leaving Penguin Random House, where she had worked for 30 years.

“Sheryl told me they needed books for the new libraries, so I wrote to my former employers and asked about possibly getting some donated,” Roman said. “They agreed and I made a list of books that had a nature and arts theme.”

Roman asked for about 50 books to stock the libraries, and although not every book is available at any given time, the company recently delivered more than 40 titles to the center. The books range from board books for the youngest readers, to Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” with its environmental themes.

“It’s so important for families to read and discuss these types of things that you read about,” Roman said. “This is a way for children to learn about topics that they don’t see every day and hopefully it helps develop their understanding of some of the issues we face.

Baumann said the initial batch of books covered a variety of topics, and with the libraries up and running the selection could increase organically as people take ad leave books.

“There are all sorts of topics, from geography and sustainability, to reptiles and insects,” she said. “Some books are already in there, and I’ll drop more off over the weekend.”

Baumann said the tiny libraries were a way for the public to maintain their focus on nature and environmental issues even though the center remains closed to in-person visits.

“We may not be there, but people should feel free to come take a book, leave a book, and continue to learn about nature, the environment, and sustainability issues,” she said.

deng@trumbulltimes.com