NORTH ROYALTON – Building a love for reading, that’s exactly what Boy Scout Evan Porter did for his Eagle Scout project last month.

Ever since he could read, Evan, now 18 and a 2019 graduate, has had a book in hand. Evan belongs to Boy Scout Troop 526.

So, it was very fitting that when it came time for him to brainstorm his Eagle Scout project, a little library fashioned from hand would come to mind.

“When I was young, I always liked to read,” he said. “I would always go to the library. But I thought this would be a fun way to get kids to love reading.”

The Little Free Library is a small, house-like, waterproof cabinet case mounted on a post next to the entrance to the lower pavilion at Memorial Park, 14600 State Road.

The project took 62 hours to complete.

The Home Depot in Strongsville donated the cost of materials and the Sherwin Williams in North Royalton provided the gallon of paint that blends in with the nearby pavilion.

Evan, with help from his dad, brother and friend, donated the manpower.

The library officially opened May 7 with a total of 42 books. Last week, it was down to just 12, but Evan happily restocked it.

The idea behind the Little Free Library is, “take a book, leave a book.” Guests are free to take a book and bring it back, or keep the book, or stock the library with books they want to share – cookbooks, self-help books, bestsellers, children’s books, any kind of book – to keep it replenished.

“I’m excited we get to restock it,” Evan’s mom Jen said. “It’s popular, people are using it.”

“I didn’t think it would be so popular,” Evan said, surveying the emptied shelves. “There are some mechanical issues I plan to tweak, but I think it turned out really well.”

“That’s a good idea, I’ll bring you some books,” a passerby interjected, intrigued by the concept.

Knowing her son, Jen said the project couldn’t have been more fitting.

“It’s so cool because in all honesty, he’s been an avid reader since he was wee little. So, it’s very appropriate that he would build this for other little ones to begin appreciating reading.”

Mayor Bob Stefanik said it’s an asset and a perfect bookend to the Memorial Park complex.

“As I am coming and going from city hall, I will see people out there reading a book by the lake,” he said. “The little library is an outstanding addition to the pavilion, and I appreciate Evan’s hard work.”

The plan is to register it soon on the Little Free Library’s national registry so that it is visible to the community when they search for nearby free libraries.