Two Lakeside scouts build Free Little Library in Santee

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“My mom and I came up with the idea to collect books and place them around the city,” said Cydney Hansen, a 17 years old senior at River Valley Charter School in Lakeside. Hansen was approached by a senior at El Capitan High school, Connan Roosa working to complete the last step before being admitted as an Eagle Scout – a project that shows leadership and being active in the community. The perfect partnership was created and the idea of building a little free library took shape.

“My mom and I came up with the idea to collect books and place them around the city,” said Cydney Hansen, a 17 years old senior at River Valley Charter School in Lakeside. Hansen was approached by a senior at El Capitan High school, Connan Roosa working to complete the last step before being admitted as an Eagle Scout – a project that shows leadership and being active in the community. The perfect partnership was created and the idea of building a little free library took shape. With Cyndey’s love for reading and a garage full of books since her Girl Scout years combined with Roosa’s leadership skills, they were meant to succeed.

Roosa reached out to Ron Hall, the city of Santee Vice Mayor and to Ann Morrison, Recreation Service Manager with the city of Santee Park and Recreation department. Morrison notes “we worked on a location we thought to be ideal and approachable by the majority of people and we decided that the entrance of Woodglen Vista Park is the best fit, with the school just across the street and so many people coming to the dog park.” Sam Rensberry, Parks and Landscape Supervisor, had to approve the plans first. He said, “I looked at his plan and I was mainly interested to make sure the building materials are up to our standards and they were. It’s a good, solid construction.” 

Hansen loved books since she was a little girl. “I always had a book in my hand,” she said, “and I thought everyone else should have the same chance to have a book in his or her hand, because it’s such a powerful thing to have access to reading and knowledge.” Hansen started collecting books for a Girl Scout project and always filled up her parents’ and friends’ offices and waiting rooms with big baskets of books for everyone to read. “When Connor approached me in need of a project for Eagle Scout, I said well, I have all these books, do you want them? You can do a little free library. He took that idea and it did become a little free library.” Hansen plans of checking the library often to refill it with books as needed. She just received her acceptance letter at Chapman University in Orange, CA where she plans to study to become a television and screen writer, hoping to write her own shows to star in as an actress as well. 

As for Roosa, he plans to go to Cornell or SDSU, but is currently focused on his busy schedule at El Capitan, as a football player and hopefully, an Eagle Scout. He needs two more letters of recommendations to be accepted on top of the 21 merit badges he won so far, and then it’s done deal. 

The project was sponsored by Ron and Virginia Hall and was finalized with credit from Santee Home Depot and materials from Payton’s True Value Hardware in Lakeside. The little free library was inaugurated Friday morning in the presence of community supporters, friends, family, local residents and officials. 

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