Special thanks to Ms. Heather Butts of H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths, Brooklyn Borough President, Antonio Reynoso, Deputy Borough President, Diana Richardson, and the New York City Police Department.
Last Friday a couple of WHSAD students took a trip to Brooklyn Borough Hall for an event with Little Free Library. If you don’t know what Little Free Library is, it’s the non-profit organization that created all of the small, tree house-like libraries. You have probably seen them before, maybe in someone’s front yard, or in a park, or in Mr. Codio’s room. The idea is this: when you take a book, you leave a book. The group has helped many communities grow closer by encouraging them to share, and read each other’s books without difficulty, or cost.
WHSAD has constructed, and painted multiple libraries in the past with the organization H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths, which is founded by Ms. Heather Butts, so it was not a new experience for everyone on the trip. We have partnered with high schools, elementary schools, as well as the NYPD, to help construct libraries to put up all over Brooklyn. This serves as a great opportunity for the more experienced upperclassmen who have helped with this before to really apply themselves and assist the newer students if they’re confused.
On this trip we worked with the NYPD, and the Borough President, Antonio Reynoso, and his staff. Here are some of the attending students perspectives:
Kiara Garcia (Class of 2022)
The Little Free Library trip to Brooklyn Borough Hall was Held on Friday May 6th, 2022. I am currently a Senior at WHSAD. The Little Free Library is one project that WHSAD hosts and contributes to within our communities around us. And it’s one of many projects I love working on with other WHSAD students. You learn basic workshop and communication skills with this project. I’ve worked on the Little Free project for approximately four years now, and it has developed my skills tremendously towards becoming a leader to others. On this trip, student from WHSAD worked with many district police officers and a few members from schools near Brooklyn Borough Hall for this event. Our Brooklyn Borough President, Mr. Antonio Reynoso, made a surprise visit, and I got the opportunity to help show him how to build a Library of his own for Brooklyn Borough Hall. Building the Little Library’s with the police officers gave them an opportunity to build libraries for their district in Brooklyn. It was a fun and exciting experience. Many had struggles as beginner builders, but with a few instructions and tips, many of them as a group succeeded in building multiple Little Libraries . I got to be a leader today and show off some skills to other kids and adults. As a team with the participants at Brooklyn Borough Hall we were able to build and assemble 13 Little Free Libraries, so now all of Brooklyn has one. Projects like these, helping the community and younger generations within it, is what makes it an amazing experience to participate in. Getting this chance to do this will always remain with me as I get closer to graduation. Being able to show future leaders how to build a Little Free Library and hands on skills was a proud moment. We have a stronger community this way. Having a last moment and chance with this project meant so much to me. “Be the Leader today, seek the future tomorrow”.
Jennifer Segundo Ramirez (Class of 2024)
On Friday May 6th, we went to the Brooklyn Borough Hall. It was a nice view from the outside. When we got in, it was big and nice inside. We went to this room where we saw Ms. Butts talking to a group of kids and on the tables there were boxes. In those boxes they had little libraries that we were going to be building. We had one of our members, Kiara, demonstrate to us how to build one, since it was our first time building one, and she had experience already. We had to work in groups. I worked with Sebastian and Pedro, and we started to take the items out of the box and started to put it together. We had finally put it together, just that we needed the nails in, but for that occasion we had to wait for the policemen that were around to help us. We had to wait patiently, since they were helping the other kids. There were kids of different ages participating in this activity, and they looked very happy and excited to be doing it. Kiara walked around to see if others needed help.
What I learned on this trip was that drilling and hammering the pieces can be hard if you don’t have enough pressure and that this was a group project where everyone had to be involved and help the others. I had a little bit of trouble with the drilling, so Pedro helped me and supposedly it was one of his great skills he was good at. I was also nervous about the hammer part because I was scared to hit my fingers, but seeing my group members Sebastian and Pedro doing it made me have a little more courage to try it and it was actually better than I expected. There was a time where the police officer, Thomas, had to help us, but he was very helpful and nice and he had offered to let us do the drilling and hammering. I had noticed that the Borough President Antonio Reynoso was there, and he was building a Little Free Library with the students. He looked like he was having a good time. The teamwork and patience was the thing that I learned during this trip. It was a fun experience and I would encourage more kids to join in trips like these. It can help students experience something new and have fun. There will be places where kids can acknowledge what they are good at and not. Without students trying to find them, or even being able to participate on these trips, I feel like they are missing a lot from these fun experiences.
Magaly Aspiroz (Class of 2022)
Friday some of us students went on a trip to Brooklyn Burough Hall for the Little Free Library event. In which we built small libraries that will be placed all over the neighborhoods. The travel in the train was normal and there was no difficulty moving around. Once we were out we had to walk for about 10 minutes to get to the Brooklyn Hall. We actually met Heather Butts at the entrance before me and Kiara Garcia went in. The first thing I noticed when we were about to start building the houses was that they were inside of boxes, all of them looking the same. We made sure to place one box in each table because there were going to be different teams building individual ones. At first I really thought that we would have to build the little houses from 0 and we’d have to cut the wood, surprisingly we didn’t and they were already pre made, we just had to put the pieces together. The whole process was really fun and I managed to learn how to build the houses with Kiara’s help.
The sides, back, front, and even bottom had to be drilled to be put together. The smaller pieces could easily be nailed to the bigger pieces. Since we didn’t have a drill with my group, George and Zyon began to insert the bigger nails themselves and twist them so that they could go in. I decided to help them and about 2 nails were almost in when we realized that it was getting hard to twist them further in. We borrowed a drill from some police officers and they were nice enough to help us drill the rest of the nails and hammer the smaller nails to the wood. George was the most excited for the top part of the house and couldn’t wait to drill the metal top to the roof of the library house, which she did. The final product was pretty to look at and I felt great satisfaction looking at the finished house. Overall the experience was informative and really interesting because I had never built a little free library structure before and always wondered how they were built. Even though some parts were a bit difficult to do and we struggled a bit, the whole process was fun and required teamwork for it to work. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to the younger grades for future events because this way they have the opportunity of learning something new the same way I learned how to build the little houses. It’s also not difficult to do them because everything is already there and only a drill and hammer are needed apart from that.
Pedro Astudillo (Class 2022)
On Friday, May 6th a few of my peers, Ms.Cumberbatch, Mr. Koestner, and I went Brooklyn Borough Hall to build some Little Free Libraries. Coming into this trip, I did not know too much about the Little Free Libraries besides that I had seen a couple here and there so I was interested to see how this would go.
When we entered the building the amount of detail was astonishing. Every bit of the building was really beautifully crafted and the portraits were really cool. There was another school there also working on building these little libraries. There were police officers there with some tools to help us build the little libraries. Thankfully, Kiara had some past experience with building them, so she was able to help us put them together. We broke up into groups. I was working with Sebastian and Jennifer. After some waiting for tools, Sebastian got a bit impatient and started to use some wood glue and that definitely did not work. Eventually an officer came over, and we started work on our Little Library. I started off by drilling in some screws, and I let Sebastian and Jennifer give it a shot. They didn’t really get it, and we agreed I would do the drilling and they would do the hammering. Finally their time to shine came, and they started to hammer. I found it so funny that they were being so delicate with the nails and the hammer, not going to lie. I don’t know how the cop didn’t laugh because I sure was. We all took turns putting in the final nail and BAM we were finished. We were all really proud of our little library. We took pictures with the officer and our build, and it was really nice!
Overall, I have to say that this really easy build is much more than just building the library, it is a really great thing that we’re doing for the community. As I mentioned before, I had actually seen a couple of these Little Free Libraries and they’re really great! People put books in them all the time and sometimes you can find some gems in these libraries. This was a great experience, I would definitely recommend everyone do this at some point.
Sebastian Oritz (Class of 2023)
On Friday afternoon, we went on a trip to Brooklyn Borough Hall where we had the activity to build a Little Free Library. The space itself was very welcoming and fun. Some cops were there to help with some tasks that included drilling and hammering, and there were a lot of other kids from different ages as well. It was a very fun experience and a good way to get yourself distracted from a long day at school. Building the library was pretty easy; it’s like Legos but with wood. My partners were Jennifer and Pedro. Working with them made the experience even better because both are extremely funny and interesting people to talk to. When we got to the part of hammering, I was really exciting because it just seems so fun to do it. It was slightly difficult at first because I didn’t want to smash my finger, but I got the hang of it really quickly!
I think more students should go on these sorts of trips because they are extremely fun. After a long day of school you obviously want to get distracted, and these kinds of activities where you can build stuff and be part of something are an opportunity every student should take advantage of.